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36- Bribery


Raisins are big business in California if you were watching. TV in the late nineteen eighteen eighties. You'll remember the California raisins. Those are the little raisins shaped claymation men who became famous for singing. This singing reasons were developed by the California reason advisory board those commercials boosted sales for Sun Diamond Growers. Growers this is a group of agricultural cooperatives that pool their resources for things like marketing. They represent the growers of products. Like prunes walnuts. It's and raisins. Just one of the group's members son made is the biggest raisin and dried fruit producer in the country and the world. Actually you know the maker of those little well read raisin boxes with the girl in the Bonnet on the cover pretty much. The entire American reason industry is located within a few hundred square miles in California's Central Valley. About halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles raisins alone are a serious five hundred million dollar industry. Just until a few years ago we even had a national raisin reserve in the nineteen nineties reasons. Exactly okay would never wanna around in the nineteen nineties. Sun Diamond was worried about changes to to government policies that have benefited from one involve federal reimbursements for overseas marketing campaigns by groups that sun diamond belong to like the California Prune Board and the Raisin Administrative Committee the other was the use of methyl bromide in raisin farming. Methyl Bromide was a popular pesticide. So changes were coming that we're going to disadvantage son made aid and they didn't like it one bit so around this time. Sun Diamond happened to give a lot of gifts to a man named Mike. espy tickets to of the nineteen ninety-three. US Open tennis tournament. Luggage meals a crystal ball. Thousands of dollars worth of gifts so who exactly was sp at the time. He was the secretary of Agriculture. The Guy who was in a position to change and to influence federal agricultural policy. which matters if you're in the business of dried fruit and nuts? We're these things. The tickets the crystal just gifts the federal government it didn't think so and in nineteen ninety six a federal grand jury indicted Sun Diamond for giving illegal gratuities. That's the crime of giving a gift gift to a public official for something official either. Did we're going to do. And that case eventually made its way up to the United States Supreme Court in Nineteen nineteen ninety nine. The Supreme Court rejected the government's theory of why Sun Diamond was guilty. Prosecutors didn't link the company's gifts with any particular other thing. The Secretary of Agriculture did or was going to do. The court's opinion was written by justice. Scalia who chose to explain the crime of of illegal gratuities by referring to its statutory cousin. The federal bribery statute while committing the crime of illegal. gratuities means. You're giving award to a public official. Bribery is different said Justice Scalia quote for bribery. There must be a quid. Pro Pro quo a specific intent to give or receive something of value in exchange for an official act. That's the essence of bribery. A quid would pro quo a Latin phrase. That means something for something a quid. Pro Quo is what makes bribery bribery as opposed to other crimes involving corruption corruption. We've heard a lot about bribery quid. Pro Quos and impeachment in the last few months at a rally in Hershey Pennsylvania on December tenth hand President Trump announced. This is the lightest impeachment in the history of our country by far. It's not even like and then actually it's a real impeachment. Trump is about to become the third president in American history to be impeached by the House of Representatives lives at the center of the allegations against trump are what the house has described as a bribery scheme. What is the crime of bribery? And and how do trump's assistant measure up to find out own. This is what trump can teach us about common law and ongoing monthly series of indefinite length. Where we take the tweets and six page page rambling letters of the forty fifth president of the United States and use them to examine our constitution? Like we never have before. Our music is from doom trade records are professor is your neighbor is Elizabeth Joe and fellow student in host Roman Maugham's okay. France is week number three in the radio topiary forever fund drive and I have an update update in a brand new gift level to consider first off. We're still looking for thirty five thousand donors of any amount to join us in creating all the shows you love at Radio Tokyo Dot. 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FM Click on the Roman Mars Beautiful Nerd Brigade Button and a big group of us will hang out together online. Don't be one of the nine thousand nine hundred and ninety to be one of the eight at Radio Topa Dot. FM If thirty five thousand people donate in total then everyone who pledges for gift get sent a new set of Radio Topi forever stickers and if you WanNa send me a little secret message saying Okay Rome. I'm ready to dip my toe in the water. Go to radio topiary. Jonathan clicked the Roman Mars beautiful nearby Gade Button. And I'll take you by the hand and we'll wade into these waters together after that you and me we're pals else you can do this. Go to Radio Topa Dot. FM Okay this time we're going to jump right. In with trump to recap beginning in September. Are we learned from an anonymous whistleblowers complaint that President Trump held a thirty minute phone call on July twenty fifth with the newly elected president of Ukraine Volodymyr Voldymyr Zelinski. The United States is a very important ally to Ukraine and struggles against Russian aggression including fighting russian-led forces. We we are their most important ally. Zilenski was hoping to arrange for a White House visit as a public symbol of the US Ukraine alliance and Congress had all ready approved three hundred ninety one million dollars in aid to be provided to Ukraine and while the US and Ukraine our allies. It's fair to say. Hey that Ukraine is not exactly an equal relationship here. According to the White House zone release summary of that July call trump. Now infamously famously said to Dolinsky. I would like you to do us a favor. Though that favor included two things first to look into what is a baseless conspiracy conspiracy theory that it was Ukraine. Not Russia that interfered in the two thousand sixteen election. The second favor was for Ukraine to launch an investigation into the Joe Biden and his son for corruption. Like the first part of the favor. The idea that either Biden or his son engage in corruption has no factual basis. We learned later that the aid to Ukraine that Congress had already approved had been put on hold by the White House before the phone call after after the House foreign affairs. Intelligence Oversight Committee's announced on September ninth that they would launch an investigation into what happened to those funds the trump administration and released the hold on their money on September eleventh. There are two parts of the favor in that now famous phone call between trump and Alinsky but to make things simple. Let's focus on trump. Asking the president of Ukraine to launch. An investigation into the Biden's bribery. Was a serious enough crime that it was one of the few that was explicitly explicitly mentioned in the Constitution. The constitution says impeachment can be based upon treason bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors but could what trump did qualify qualify as the crime of bribery. Short answer is yes. So let's begin with the Federal Criminal Statute on bribery. That's eighteen. USC TO A one it makes it it. A crime for a public official to directly or indirectly correctly demand seek receive accept or agree to receive or accept anything of value. Personally in return for being influenced in the performance of any official act. Thus you need one a public official to who who is demanding accepting or promising three a benefit or a thing of value for with a corrupt state of mind and five to be influenced in an official Social Act. Now let's address the easiest and Moose confusing thing that's been discussed. Wait say defenders of the president. He's obviously not guilty. The of bribery because Ukraine received the money. This was one of the arguments made in a house. Republican memo of talking points released just before the public impeachment hearings in November Ukraine. Got The money anyway. That point was repeated again and again former. UN Ambassador Nikki. Haley said. It's hard for me to understand. Stand where the whole impeachment situation is coming from because what everybody's up in arms about then happen and Coulter tweeted on November thirteenth. If no crime was committed it doesn't matter what stopped you and Laura Ingram said on Fox News on November fourteenth attempted bribery. I bere- isn't in the constitution. Two things about this. I the suggestion that nothing wrong happened. Because of crime failed is like fingernails anger nails on chalkboard for law. Professors failed crimes are still crimes. People get convicted of criminal attempts. All the time attempts temps are not punished. That's pretty much the sideshow Bob Defense from the simpsons in one thousand nine hundred four episode of the show Bob. He's a circus clown and murderous. There's one calls into a radio show from prison and dismisses his conviction for unsuccessfully trying to murder Bart Simpson attempted murder. Now honestly what is that. Do they give a Nobel prize for attempted chemistry. Do they not for chemistry but Chur for crime it turns out being bad at bribery does does not exonerate you. Second the bribe doesn't even have to be a successful for you to actually be guilty. Federal bribery the federal statute punishes punishes public officials even if they only demand to receive something of value in order to perform a public act. The crime doesn't actually require you to go through brewers exchange so let's go back to the parts of bribery itself. Would I would like you to do us a favor though. Qualify for bribery. In this case the public official is president trump. He demanded. That's the I would like you to do as a favor. Though a thing of value courts of made it clear that a thing of value doesn't doesn't have to be money in fact it doesn't even have to be something that would be valuable to everybody just has to be valuable to the person accused of bribery for trump. This was a public announcement from Alinsky that he would investigate. Trump's political rival that's Biden and a conspiracy theory about the two thousand sixteen election. Those things count as things value. Now if this were a criminal case there might be slightly more difficulty with the other two parts of bribery. The person accused used of bribery has to agree to be influenced in order to get the benefit. Any must have corrupt intent that means acting out of self interest rather than for official purposes press' was their promise that connected the release of US aid in return for the Biden investigation. And was it done out of the president's interest in getting himself free elected on October. Eighth Trump tweeted I would love to send ambassadors Sunland a really good man and great American to testify I but unfortunately he would be testifying before a totally compromised kangaroo court where Republicans rights have been taken away and true facts are not allowed out for the public to see importantly ambassador silence. Tweet which few report stated I believe. You are incorrect about President. President trump's intentions the president has been crystal-clear no quid pro. Quos of any kind. That says it all well someone. Someone did end up testifying publicly and under oath before the House Intelligence Committee on November twentieth. Here's what he had to say about that. I know that members Brazil this committee frequently frame these complicated issues in the form of a simple question was there a quid. Pro Quo with regard to the requested quested White House call and the White House meeting. The answer is yes but it doesn't even matter. Whether or not trump used the words quid pro quo or even even denied that there was a quid pro quo that's why trump's impromptu public statement on November twentieth doesn't excuse him either he read from notes written and Shar our be on an Air Force One notepad right after silent testified about what trump wanted from Ukraine response. I want nothing I want nothing. I want no quid. Pro Quo now an ordinary criminal cases. There's usually only circumstantial evidence that points to an unspoken. Okay Agreement. Things like what the people involved said how they behaved. And the timing of their actions just denying. It doesn't mean you didn't do it. And as for satisfying the corrupt intent requirement of bribery. That means acting out of personal interest. Trump had this to say in a tweet from December fourth. When I said in my phone call to the president of Ukraine? I would like you to do us a favor though because our country has been through a lot right and Ukraine knows a lot about it with the word us I am referring to the United States our country then just a few days later. Read the transcripts. Also see where I say us our country as opposed to me meaning me and then say that the Attorney General of the United States will call. Oh you and then three days later. He tweeted read the transcripts us is a reference to USA. Not Me trump saying that when he said I'd like you to do us a favor though he meant to do the United States a favor. It's not the most believable of defenses and remember the favor he requested requested wasn't part of any official change in American policy toward Ukraine. The request was viewed by American officials. Who testified before the House as being improper unusual unusual and politically motivated? Take with David. Holmes and official at the US embassy in Ukraine said when he testified before. The House home said that when he asked Gordon silent about trump's position on Ukraine quote ambassador Sunland agreed. The president did not give it about Ukraine but from and what we now know from all those texts documents and sworn testimony. There certainly seems to be a lot of evidence. Pointing to a corrupt exchange. For instance instance silent testified that the White House was interested. Only in an announcement of investigation into the Biden's according to Sunland the Ukraine president quote only had to announce the investigations. He didn't actually have to do them. As I understand it. Remember Psalm was working behind the scenes to get the Ukrainians to make this happen. Happened a White House visit and American aid conditioned on a formal announcement that the Biden's were being investigated. Solomon was one of several people people associated with the Ukraine call who testified before the house in the second part of November. Many more people who are asked to testify did not why not because on October Eighth White House counsel Pat Sip Baloney wrote a letter to house speaker. Nancy Pelosi and the three chairs of the house. Committees running these investigations instigations. It's an eight page letter but I can summon up in one sentence. We're not going to participate period. That meant that some people critical to understanding what exactly a happened in that July twenty fifth phone call would not be testifying like secretary of state. Mike POMPEO chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and former White House counsel Don mcgann again now. In some of these instances the House has gone to court to compel testimony but we're not likely to know the resolution of these cases for some time but the House has moved ahead under Fifth House Speaker. Nancy Pelosi announced that the House of Representatives will be drafting articles of impeachment against President Trump in her formal address policy said during the debate over impeachment of the constitutional convention. George Mason also asked show any man be above justice. Show that man be about it. Who can commit the most extensive injustice and if we allowed president to be above the law? Aw We do so. Surely at the peril of our republic in America no one is above the law at at seven in the evening just two days later. The House Judiciary Committee held what's called a markup session unto articles of impeachment and voted to approve those articles just three days later. The full House of Representatives voted on the articles of impeachment. On Wednesday December eighteenth with a democratic majority. The articles were approved making trump. The third president students in American history to be impeached by the House. So what's the basis of this impeachment. So we spent a lot of time talking about president. Trump's actions ends words and tweets over the past couple of years they've been subjected to lawsuits and protests endless media coverage but the basis of the impeachment is pretty narrow. Oh the House has decided to focus on Ukraine one article accuses trump of obstruction of congress. It says that trump has directed elected the unprecedented categorical and indiscriminate defiance of subpoenas issued by the House of Representatives pursuant to its sole power of impeachment the other articles of impeachment alleged that trump has committed an abuse of power by soliciting the interference of foreign government in the twenty twenty United States presidential selection. This is a direct reference to that July twenty fifth phone call. You might ask well. Isn't this bribery. Why doesn't the article directly charge? The president with bribery. One part of the answer is probably political. Abuse of power might just pull better with the public and bribery has some complications. We've already talked about how some elements or parts of federal bribery may be tricky though certainly not impossible to prove and then there's the complication that the current federal statute and bribery didn't exist when the constitution was drafted. There was what we'd call the common law of bribery. That's judge made law but notice. Then we start to go down the path of debating which and whether a certain kind of bribery matters and of course in the end impeachment itself isn't a criminal prosecution at all there's no conviction in at the end of the process in the same way there's a criminal conviction the worst thing that happens to trump the very worst would be removed from office so why is talking about bribery. Three still useful because the crime of bribery remains in the background of impeachment. Even if it's not formerly the basis of an article of impeachment in fact when the House released its formal report to support impeachment late. In the night of December fifteenth it refers specifically to the federal crime of bribery as the report itself says. Although president trump's actions need not rise to the level of a criminal violation to justify impeachment. His conduct tear was criminal and they proceed through the analysis of bribery. That we've just walked you through here. The subject of bribery matters to trump trump To even before during after the house launched its impeachment. Investigation trump himself was talking about a quid pro quo on November. Third Trump tweeted. False stories are being reported that a few Republican senators are saying that president trump may have done a quid pro quo. But it doesn't matter. There's nothing thing wrong with that. It is not an impeachable event. Perhaps so but read the transcript there is no quid pro quo kind of internally inconsistent. They didn't do it do it. No I did. It doesn't matter. On Friday. December December thirteenth trump tweeted. It's not fair that I'm being impeached. When I've done absolutely nothing wrong? The radical left do nothing Democrats have become the party of hate. They are so bad for our country by making Ukraine the narrow focus of impeachment. The House also makes the case for the speed of its process as House Intelligence Committee chair Adam Schiff said in a press conference on December tenth. This impeachment is really about the next election shift posed it this way by the argument. Why don't you just wait amounts to this? Why don't you just let him cheat in one more election? Why not let him cheat just one more time? Why not let him have Ford health just one more time? So that is what that argument amounts to and trump's more recent tweet defenses veer away from what happened in Ukraine instead. The president is just pretty upset about impeachment on December thirteenth. He tweeted. How do you get impeached? Have done nothing wrong. A perfect call have created the best economy in the history of our country rebuilt our military fixed the va cut taxes and rigs protected. Your Second Amendment created jobs jobs jobs and so much more crazy and on December seventeenth trump wrote and angry rambling sometimes false discrimation point riddled six page letter to Speaker. Pelosi among his complaints are the following quotes. You have cheapen the importance of the very ugly word impeachment by proceeding with your invalid impeachment. You are violating your oath of office. You are offending Americans of faith by continually continually saying I pray for the president when you know the statement is not true unless it is meant in a negative sense. It is a terrible thing you are doing but you will have to live with you. Know what I I write this letter to you for the purpose of history and to put my thoughts on a permanent and double record and not to be forgotten. This line nine more due process was afforded to those accused in the Salem witch trials and on the eve of his impeachment trump tweeted and they want to impeach me. I'm not worried and yet they're all breaking the law in so many ways. How can they do that? And yet impeach you're very successful. ECONOMY ECONOMY PLUS president of the United States. Who has done nothing wrong? Are you in the holidays or are you feeling a little stressed I. I don't blame. The season brings with it a long list of things to do and I imagine life insurance is not way up there so go ahead and let policy genius. Hope you cross it off. They'll they'll find you the right life insurance at the best price and do all the work to get you covered just minutes posting us let you compare quotes from top insurers to find your best price this could mean a savings savings of fifteen hundred dollars or more a year when once you apply also team will handle all the paperwork. Plus politics isn't trust for life insurance. They can also also you find insurance for your home and car so if you need life insurance but you aren't sure where to start why not start at policy. Dean Dot Com. It only takes a few minutes to find the right life insurance policy. Apply across another thing off your to do policy genius when it comes to life insurance. It's nice to get a right. There's new podcast I wanNA tell you about. It's called unprecedented. It's about everyday Americans who pushed the boundaries foundries of the First Amendment. Some were find somewhere even jailed and they ended up taking their cases the Supreme Court to help the rest of US figure out what freedom of speech really means needs for example. Here's the question can a kid. Where a black armband to school? It's a bullet fashioned choice. But what if it's a protest against war it's silent not not really disruptive so what's the problem and what does con La say about that or can you burn a cross in an open field even if you have permission from the fields owner Tirr all these stories plus legal analysis from. NPR's Nina Totenberg checkout unprecedented. Wherever you listen to podcasts? Trump's impeachment means that there's going to be a Senate trial apart from the legal issues for me. There's another question what we'll John Roberts where article one of the constitution says that when the president of the United States is tried the chief justice justice shall preside that means the current chief justice. John Roberts will preside over the Senate trial of president trump. Roberts has been on the court since two thousand and five five Bill Clinton was the last president who faced impeachment by the House and trial in the Senate and the Chief Justice who presided over his Senate trial was William Rehnquist. People took note of his robe so a bit of background just another legal systems often wear elaborate robes. The British Supreme Court justices have handmaid's ceremonial robes embroidered. With real gold thread the justices of the Supreme Court of Canada have scarlet robes trimmed with white mink but in the United States today federal and state judges generally wear a very simple plain black robe and that goes for the United States Supreme Court as well since one thousand nine hundred twelve. The Bentley and Simon Robe factory in Salem Virginia has made robes for the supreme court. Justices take about five weeks to make back. And they're known for their horse hair canvas line caller that helps make them cool and comfortable lifetime guarantee but one day nineteen ninety-four four justice rehnquist had four one inch wide gold. Stripes sewn onto each sleeve of his Bentley and Simon Model J seventy one. According into fellow Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor he simply surprised us with the change one morning. He said he'd recently seen Gilbert and Sullivan Opera. In which the Lord Chief Justice Worry Robe with gold stripes this would have been a production of Yolande and the A lot. They just your typical comic opera. Where Immortal fairies confront the house? Ford's a reporter asked the Supreme Court Press Office. What's the meaning of the stripes? There's no meaning was the answer. He just likes the look the look good. I liked him. I remember that probably playing though. That's my expectation Roberts Robertson going to go plain black four short. I wonder if there's a betty market on that but all he doesn't like exude like that super interested in things like or something this is this is all he's over wanted to do even though it would. It'd be hard to figure out what the framers met by bribery. Don't you think it's rhetorically better. Like if he committed bribery. And it's written in the constitution. That briberies impeachable offense to just charge him with it anyway. Yeah I mean I can see that but I think the easiest thing is to just say when you just do something that's really benefiting you and you're the president that's using your power and I think that's an easier story to tell. Aw because once you talk about bribery than people immediately think of the crime and then reference to the crime invariably gets all kinds of talking heads about like Walter regular bribery case would be win or would he be acquitted. I think it just becomes much more complicated in that sense. Even though you know people kind of feel like yeah I get what briberies about vowed it is actually a crime that has to have like certain elements proven and then you get into a bunch of arguments about that and I think that abuse of power is a much. It's more kind of simple. You're not supposed to use your position for personal benefit so we're like purposely trying to veer away from something that seems like a criminal case because dot com bogged down. This thing that is not criminal trial. I think that's one way of looking at it. So you can think of of bribery and the background and it clearly is because it's in the house report supporting the articles of impeachment. But it's almost like the scaffolding ray it's the reference point to say. Well this is what the abuse of power is about but the actual article itself is a more kind of simple to understand. You're not supposed to do this when you're the president. Do you think the narrowness of the articles are built to try to control the narrative because of social media and all these different ways that they can present awesome. That might be part of it. I mean I think it's an easy thing to message right because you know once in a world where the impeachment was about Ukraine and Russia and nepotism and emoluments. It becomes out of control. And then you can just pick it apart by a thousand cuts so I think there is some logic to saying. Oh you know. Let's have the impeachment be narrow. Let it be fast and let it be a story that everyone can agree at least what the charges are about. Even if if they don't agree that there's a there there it makes for a stronger case because it's easy to explain in a world where nobody has an attention span anymore. I like I remember the Clinton impeachment I worked in a lab it. It was played on the radio all day long. And it already seems like we've been through so much boating articles gain out of committee even the Senate acquittal seems like a complete actually and so you know what is it historically like what's the value of it and the impeachment itself of BBC yourself visit the shift argument that you just like you have to call cheaters cheaters. When they do it I mean if the constitution means anything it's supposed to rise to the occasion when you know? Congress thinks that the presence presents been doing something wrong. I mean even if the political partisan nature of it means that a lot of people feel like they know the outcome You may be virtually virtually certain if this process is nothing. Then why why do we even have it. It's one of those things I get has to take place. It has to take place if there is meaningful evidence and we have every reason reason to believe that there's all this meaningful evidence because of all the testimony texts things released by the White House itself to suggest that there's wrongdoing you know it can't can't just be that well. It doesn't matter because everyone knows the outcome. Then we don't live in a I mean not to get off on you. We don't live in a we. Don't have a rule of London. It doesn't mean anything. Thanks thanks. This show is produced by Elizabeth. Joe Chris Baru Bay and me Roman Mars you can find us. Online at trump on law dot com of music and trump card law is provided by doing tree records the Midwest hip hop collective. You can find out more about doom. She records get merch and learn about current tours and Dune Tree Dot net and we are proud member of radio. Tokyo from REX supported by listeners. Like you don't forget. The Radio Tovia forever fund drive is happening right now at Radio Tokyo Dot. FM IF YOU WANNA join me for online in office hours click on the Roman Mars Beautiful Nerd Brigade Button. Donate ten dollars and will hit that goal of thirty five thousand backers in no time that's radio TOPI DOT FM. And when you're done some let me know about it on twitter. I'm at Roman Mars and thank you personally. That's Radio Tokyo Dot. FM Thanks Radio Yeah.

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