House Democrats have recently changed their messaging in the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump, after internal polling found that “bribery” is a term more incriminating against the president and much better understood by the American public than the Latin term “quid pro quo”—a favor for a favor.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) initiated the impeachment inquiry following a whistleblower complaint based on a July 25 call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, where Democrats alleged the president pressured Ukraine to investigate political rival former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter.
The inquiry continued despite Presidents Trump and Zelenskiy both saying there was no wrongdoing.
When asked by host Margaret Brennan on CBS’s “Face the Nation” whether the impeachment investigation would conclude by the end of the year, Pelosi’s simply responded, “I have no idea.”
“There’s not even a decision made to impeach the president. This is a finding of fact, unfolding of the truth. And then a decision will be made, and that is a decision that goes beyond me,” Pelosi said on her Nov. 17 appearance on the show.
“If he has information that is exculpatory, that means ex, taking away, culpable, blame, then we look forward to seeing it,” Pelosi said of President Trump.
But Pelosi was not able to give evidence for wrongdoing by the president to date.
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) during a same-day appearance on “Face the Nation” shot back at Democratic claims of a “quid pro quo,” saying that it never even existed in the first place.
Unlike Pelosi’s claims that the inquiry is “a finding of fact,” Jordan dismissed this and said, “There was never an investigation undertaken.”
Washington Examiner contributor Becket Adams pointed out in a Nov. 15 column that Democrats have changed their messaging tactics for the impeachment to have “maximum effect” on removing the president.
“According to two people familiar with the results, which circulated among Democrats this week, the focus groups found ‘bribery’ to be most damning,” Adams wrote, citing The Washington Post. “The people spoke on the condition of anonymity because the results have not been made public.”
Laurence Tribe, constitutional law professor at Harvard University, pointed out that the Democrats’ references to a quid pro quo was the party’s tactical mistake in hoping to sway public sentiment.
“It’s easier for the public to understand English-language concepts like ‘bribery’ and ‘extortion’ than it is for most people to plumb the meaning of the Latin phrase ‘quid pro quo,’” the Harvard professor said Monday in an email, “and public comprehension is essential to the proper use of the impeachment power.”
House Judiciary Committee top GOP member Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) during an appearance on Fox News’s “Sunday Morning Futures disputed the impeachment inquiry on the basis that Democratic lawmakers were not focusing on the key facts.
“The worst part is they don’t care about the substance,” Collins said. “They know they have nothing, so now they’re making it up and polling to figure out what is best to sell to the American people.”