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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Thursday President Donald Trump already has admitted to bribery in the Ukraine scandal at the heart of a Democratic-led inquiry, accusing him of an impeachable offense under the U.S. Constitution.
“The bribe is to grant or withhold military assistance in return for a public statement of a fake investigation into the elections. That’s bribery,” Pelosi, the top Democrat in Congress, told a news conference the day after the first public hearing in the impeachment inquiry she announced in September.
“What the president has admitted to and says it’s ‘perfect,’ I say it’s perfectly wrong. It’s bribery,” Pelosi said.
Democrats are looking into whether the Republican president abused his power by withholding $391 million in U.S. security aid to Ukraine as leverage to pressure Kiev to conduct two investigations that would benefit him politically. The money, approved by Congress to help a U.S. ally combat Russia-backed separatists in the eastern part of the country, was later provided to Ukraine.
Another central figure - former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch - is due to testify on Friday in the second public hearing in the inquiry.
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