President Trump allegedly committed “bribery”

Under the US Code, “offering a bribe” to an officer is bribery. But another definition of “bribery” covers an officer who “requests a bribe.” It’s committed when a “public official … corruptly demands (or) seeks … anything of value … in return for … any official act.”

For example: What if the city council approves your zoning permit, but the city clerk tells you she won’t release the permit unless you do her a personal favor? Answer: Merely “seeking anything of value” establishes the conduct of “bribery.” The clerk can be convicted for requesting a bribe – even if you never did the favor, even if the clerk releases the permit, and even if the clerk could have held up the permit for any number of other reasons. Requesting the bribe is “bribery.”

Trump requested a “small favor” of Ukrainian President Zelensky. Everyone understood that $391 million of aid was withheld from Ukraine and that Zelensky wouldn’t get a meeting with Trump without performing that small favor. Trump requesting that personal political favor satisfied the conduct requirement of “bribery.” It’s irrelevant that the bribe wasn’t paid and that Trump eventually performed his official duties.

Trump claims he withheld the aid because of Ukrainian “corruption.” But Trump never demanded investigations other than those that would help him personally. It’s irrelevant that Trump could have withheld the aid for other reasons. He withheld it because he was seeking a personal political favor.

Trump is like the bank officer who embezzles money, and when caught, claims he wasn’t stealing — only testing the bank’s security systems. I don’t buy it. If Trump wasn’t seeking political advantages, why did he ask for them? Like Judge Judy says: “Don’t pee on my foot and tell me it’s raining!”

Myron Schreck

Moscow

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Concerned about parking in downtown Pullman

I am very concerned over the current parking situation in downtown Pullman. I have a local business in the downtown area and therefore park downtown five days per week.

Currently, if I am planning on being in my office more than two hours, I park on Davis Way. Today I parked my car at 1:30 p.m. at the library as I was only planning on being there an hour after lunch. At 1:37 p.m., I was given a parking ticket (for $100) for overtime in this lot. I returned to my car at 3:05 p.m. to find the ticket. Needless to say, I am not happy.

What can we do to encourage downtown businesses to flourish, to encourage people to frequent the downtown area without chasing them away with micromanaging the parking lots, and in this case, lying about the infringement.

If I choose to challenge the ticket, I sit in parking court for three hours, missing an afternoon of wages (I’m in business for myself). If I pay the ticket, I am out $100. There has to be a better answer!

Stacy Pettitt

Pullman

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Words worth repeating from impeachment proceedings

The words of Fiona Hill bear repeating: “President Putin and the Russian security services operate like a super PAC. They deploy millions of dollars to weaponize our own political opposition research and false narratives. When we are consumed by partisan rancor we cannot combat these external forces as they seek to divide us against each other, degrade our institutions, and destroy the faith of the American people in our democracy.”

Hill was the top Russia expert on the National Security Council in the Trump administration. She spoke under oath during Thursday’s impeachment hearings. (New York Times, Thursday, November 21, 2019.)

Michael Jennings

Moscow

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