From The Great Courses Daily:
“The law doesn’t draw a line; it understands that often, exchanges like this happen with a ‘nod and a wink’ or a ‘nudge nudge’ or an implicit understanding,” said Professor Paul Rosenzweig, a Senior Fellow at the R Street Institute and a Professorial Lecturer in Law at The George Washington University Law School. “The law has never required an explicit quid pro quo—it’s never required anybody to say, ‘If you do this, I’ll do that.’ The law would not exclude this from being a quid pro quo—it wouldn’t demand it either, but the evidence leads you in that direction.”
Professor Rosenzweig, who served as special counsel to Kenneth “Ken” Starr during the impeachment of former President Bill Clinton, also said that whether or not the series of events qualifies as a quid pro quo isn’t the issue. “Just asking a foreign leader to help you beat your political opponent is an abuse of power. Adding in the extortionate withholding of funds just makes it that much worse.”
“It’s perfectly appropriate for President Trump to withhold funds unless the Ukraine does better at cracking down on corruption, in general,” Professor Rosenzweig said. He likened that to telling Argentina that the United States won’t give it more money until they’ve paid off their previous debts to the U.S. or telling Israel that the U.S. will withhold funds if Israel builds settlements on the West Bank.
“That’s a totally acceptable use of the American levers of power to achieve our diplomatic objectives through financial incentives. What isn’t appropriate is doing that against your top-level Democratic opponent [in the 2020 U.S. presidential election] or his son.”
“There’s no evidence that that’s the case,” Professor Rosenzweig said. “The evidence that’s been uncovered by a bipartisan intelligence committee investigation and by the intelligence community in general is that the Russian efforts were to aid Trump and to disrupt the Clinton campaign; so, there’s no evidence that this is an anti-Trump effort.”
As someone with experience with the presidential impeachment process, Professor Rosenzweig noted some striking similarities between former President Clinton and President Trump.
And it works. It worked for President Clinton and it seems to be working for President Trump. “The president is attempting to control the narrative and use his bully pulpit of Twitter to do so, and so far, he’s succeeding in rallying his base,” Professor Rosenzweig said. “So far, no Republicans are calling for his impeachment.”
“Secretary Pompeo’s making that up,” Professor Rosenzweig said. “There is no exception to the Congressional subpoena authority. He might say there’s an executive privilege, but he didn’t say that.