Intelligence Democrat: Stop using 'quid pro quo' to describe Trump allegations

Intelligence Democrat: Stop using 'quid pro quo' to describe Trump allegations
© Greg Nash

Rep. Jim HimesJames (Jim) Andres HimesThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Dems, GOP dig in for public impeachment hearings The Hill's Morning Report - Witness transcripts plow ground for public impeachment testimony Democrats sharpen their message on impeachment MORE (D-Conn.), a member of the House Intelligence Committee, said the focus of the impeachment inquiry into President TrumpDonald John TrumpGOP senators balk at lengthy impeachment trial Warren goes local in race to build 2020 movement 2020 Democrats make play for veterans' votes MORE needs to shift away from the use of "quid pro quo" to describe Trump's alleged behavior. 

"They’ve got to get off the quid pro quo thing, because it's complicated, they've already attested to the fact that it occurred, and what we're dealing with here is corruption, abuse of power in a way that damaged American national security," Himes said Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press." 

Himes told host Chuck ToddCharles (Chuck) David ToddChuck Todd on impeachment hearing: Part of GOP 'just not accepting facts that are facts' Intelligence Democrat: Stop using 'quid pro quo' to describe Trump allegations Brown confirms he won't enter 2020 race: 'I think it's a good field' MORE he has two problems with the term.

"Number one, when you're trying to persuade the American people of something that is really pretty simple, which is the that the president acted criminally and extorted in the way a mob boss would extort somebody, a vulnerable foreign country, it's probably best not to use Latin words to explain it," he said. 

Himes also said extortion doesn't require a "you give me this and I give you that" deal. 

"It simply requires using your muscle to get something you don’t have a right to," Himes added. 

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Himes said the "crowning absurdity" is nearly every witness has now testified "pretty much admitting" that "there was a quid pro quo."

Republicans had defended against such a deal citing U.S. ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland's testimony. Sondland changed his testimony to say there was a quid pro quo. 

Republicans are now dismissing a quid pro quo as "gosh it wasn't that bad, it was exactly the same as Joe BidenJoe BidenGOP senators balk at lengthy impeachment trial 2020 Democrats make play for veterans' votes 2020 Dems put focus on stemming veteran suicides MORE or Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham Clinton2020 Democrats make play for veterans' votes The Memo: Democrats confront prospect of long primary Manafort sought to hurt Clinton 2016 campaign efforts in key states: NYT MORE," Himes said. 

The next public phase of the inquiry begins next week with public hearings kicking off on Wednesday.