On Tuesday’s broadcast of CNN’s “Right Now,” former Obama administration Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said U.S. ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland’s testimony offered “the clear definition of bribery.”
CNN correspondent Manu Raju read excerpts from Sondland’s congressional testimony in which he said a meeting between President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was conditioned on an investigation into the company that Hunter Biden served on the board, Burisma Holdings.
Panetta said, “I think it’s important to keep focusing on the basics. And the basic charge here is that the president of the United States was asking a foreign leader and a foreign government to open up an investigation on a political opponent and on a political conspiracy and in exchange for that would provide not only a meeting at the White House but also military aid. That is the clear definition of bribery. And it’s a clear definition of what constitutes a violation of the president’s oath. So this is just additional evidence that when you look at the testimony, when you look at the facts here, it basically supports a charge against the president that he was deliberately misusing his office of the presidency.”
He added, “I think Democrats are trying to provide a process that will lay out this evidence. They’ve done it through the investigations and the transcripts that they’re now releasing, and hopefully, they will have the hearings and the direct testimony from these witnesses so that the American people can see them testify to what they did in the transcripts. That is the proper procedure. My hope is that both Democrats and Republicans recognize the seriousness of what they’re involved with, which is the impeachment process, and that this doesn’t just become another political football in Washington, but that both kind of rise to the occasion and seriously look at the issues and at the truth and determine whether or not the president ought to be held accountable.”
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