House Manager Declares President Guilty Of . . . Attempted Bribery

440px-Jason_Crow,_official_portrait,_116th_CongressRep. Jason Crow, D-Colo., will be one of the seven Democratic impeachment managers prosecuting President Trump this week in his Senate trial. However, he seems a tad unclear on what the trial is about or at least what the defendant is facing as the allegations of impeachable conduct.  Crow declared on CNN’s State of the Union that Trump was really guilty of bribery. The problem is that bribery was rejected as an article of impeachment. Not only is it grossly unfair to go to trial while alluding to uncharged conduct, it is especially bizarre when the Supreme Court seems prepared to reaffirm the very case law that I cited earlier in rejecting such expansive interpretations.

On the show, Crow declared “Yeah, specifically he did attempt to bribe and coerce a foreign government official, in this case, the president of Ukraine.”  However, when asked if it was a mistake not to include a bribery article, Crow stated, “No, absolutely not.”

So it was appropriate not to charge him in an article of impeachment on bribery but it is appropriate to accuse him of that attempted crime before a trial?

I spent considerable time in my testimony and prior writings on why a bribery allegation was unfounded under current definitions and case law.  I also testified against three other articles that were being touted by the House leadership.  I was therefore pleased to see that the Judiciary Committee dropped previous claims of bribery, extortion, campaign finance and obstruction of justice as the basis for impeachment. I testified that the repeated assurances on these allegations from members, legal analysts, and my fellow witnesses were well outside the scope for these crimes. The Committee ultimately went forward with the only two articles that I believed were valid constitutionally in this situation: obstruction of Congress and abuse of power.  However, it rejected my repeated effort to get the House to wait a couple months to prove these allegations and most importantly complete the record.

In an actual trial, the reference to uncharged criminal conduct would be viewed as patently improper.  See e.g.,  United States v. De La Paz-Rentas, 613 F.3d 18, 25-27 (1st Cir. 2010) (finding prosecutors acting improperly in commenting that “the treachery of a renegade police officer who betrays his oath to protect the public” when “the defendants were not on trial for dereliction of duty and[, therefore,] the prosecutor had no business inviting the jury to focus on this aspect of their wrongdoing”).

The issue of uncharged conduct comes up fairly often in actual trials. It is usually however evidence of actual convictions. The suggestion of untried and uncharged crimes would be viewed as wildly inappropriate.   Federal Rule of Evidence 404(b) bars prosecutors from using these convictions as evidence of a defendant’s bad character. It states

(1) Prohibited Uses. Evidence of a crime, wrong, or other act is not admissible to prove a person’s character in order to show that on a particular occasion the person acted in accordance with the character.

(2) Permitted Uses; Notice in a Criminal Case. This evidence may be admissible for another purpose, such as proving motive, opportunity, intent, preparation, plan, knowledge, identity, absence of mistake, or lack of accident.

In this case, there was no charge, let along a conviction, for bribery. Moreover, even when a conviction is allowed, it is also subject to FRE 403 which bar evidence or arguments that produce or threaten greater prejudice than probative value at trial. The reference to bribery is clearly designed to prejudice the minds of senators — and the public — which references to an actual crime.

As a former partner at a large firm, Crow must clearly be aware of why such references are viewed as presumptively unethical and unfair.  With House managers accusing the Republicans of acting as unethical jurors, the managers may want to avoid the same charge in their own arguments.

36 thoughts on “House Manager Declares President Guilty Of . . . Attempted Bribery”

  1. If enemies vote, enemies are elected.

    If anti-constitutionalist, anti-American, adversarial idiots vote, anti-constitutionalist, anti-American adversarial idiots are elected.

    The Greeks created restricted-vote democracy. The Romans perpetuated restricted-vote democracy. The American Founders established a restricted-vote republic, “…if you can keep it.” The American Founders required voters to be: Male, European, 21 with 50 lbs. Sterling/50 acres. Since then, America has chosen not to follow the protocols of the Founders by restricting the vote at the state level. In their campaign to “fundamentally transform the United States of America, anti-constitutionalist, anti-American, adversarial, unpatriotic “Americans” have allowed every parasitic, illegal alien, foreign hyphenate and incompetent idiot to vote.

  2. So it was appropriate not to charge him in an article of impeachment on bribery but it is appropriate to accuse him of that attempted crime before a trial?

    Well of course that depends on what the objective was. Clearly this was not a comment intended for senators in an impeachment trial. In fact nothing about this impeachment has actually been about impeachment. This has always been classic projection. Democrats abusing the power of their office to influence the 2020 presidential election. Add in the obstructionist tactics used against this administration and the 2020 election will be a referendum on the success of the Trump administration against the Democrat party’s Abuse of Power and Obstruction…the very same thing they want to impeach him over.

  3. The Stupid Party has sunk to relying on their worse than usual phony garbage to influence the primaries. They are that uncertain of their ability to survive having no acceptable platform and zero ethics or morals.

    Charges what? Who cares? Has nothing to do with the impeachment charges but they expect to try the case out of capitol by influencing votes for or against the one third of Senate up for re-election.

    Doesn’t take brainiac or more than a third grade education to figure out what the DINO RINOs are trying since they have nothing else. Are they in that much of a hurry to raise taxes and start more wars?

    Must hurt to have been exposed as non citizens who are still pretending to be what they are not.Not Constitutionalists, Nothing but Marxist Adolfist socialists, Guilty of oath breaking, moochers and looters who rejected their citizenship to take allegiance to a foreign ideology.

    How could any true Citizen vote for someone is not a citizen by their own choice.

    Vote NO to anything and anybody using the false name of Democrat or the the more honest name of regressive socialist liberal trying to save their revolution against our nation, At any level in any and all parts of our Constitutional Republic and forget not the RINOs the right wing OF THE LEFT. As independent self governing Citizens above all else your registration is your weapon and your ballot is your bullet

    Todays Socialist lie. They claim to have raised half a billion but did not subtract the money their party is in debt so the NET value is less than the Gross claimed. As for amount claimed how much of that took how much time to be pledged and how much has actually been paid in,.

    Methinks it’s just another example of socialist ethics meaning … none.

    Where’s the sources and where’s the proof?

    As usual. It is nowhere to be found.

    They also failed to factor in the huge loss they sustained in 2016 when they were defeated by a group with zero budget but one that took 40% of the legal vote in the valid election.

    Still the same Stupid Party playing stupid in the street during rush hour traffic.

  4. bythebook: if you have a Kindle and 99 cents you can purchase Madison’s notes on the constitutional convention. There you will learn that mal-administration (a//k/a abuse of power) was rejected as a ground for impeachment. You will also learn that the Senate was created as a check on the lower house because they feared a single legislative body could devolve into “legislative despotism” which, in case you hadn’t noticed, is exactly what has happened.

    1. Unwoke, t’s free at

      “…. The subjects of its jurisdiction are those offenses which proceed from the misconduct of public men, or, in other words, from the abuse or violation of some public trust. They are of a nature which may with peculiar propriety be denominated POLITICAL, as they relate chiefly to injuries done immediately to the society itself. The prosecution of them, for this reason, will seldom fail to agitate the passions of the whole community, and to divide it into parties more or less friendly or inimical to the accused. In many cases it will connect itself with the pre-existing factions, and will enlist all their animosities, partialities, influence, and interest on one side or on the other; and in such cases there will always be the greatest danger that the decision will be regulated more by the comparative strength of parties, than by the real demonstrations of innocence or guilt….”

      Do you want to hear Dershowitz in 1998 explaining this, or Lindsey Graham in the same year explaining the proper role of the House as like a Grand Jury? I think JT would benefit from reviewing this information as well.

  5. Another Democrat who needs to recuse because he obviously has no understanding of juris prudence or the process. He should recuse along with Klobachar, Sanders, and Warren who all will be abusing their power if they vote in this absurd case because they will have abused their power in an attempt to harm their political rival! (Of course, they may just be too ignorant to realize their hypocrisy)

  6. The purpose of the impeachment and the trial is to smear the President and a few Republican Senators for the 2020 election.

  7. Once again JT shows his true colors as he corrects democrats for alleged intemperate behavior while fully and completely ignoring GOP and WH statements and behavior which border on megalomania and anarchy. Is he even aware of how transparent his bias is or just surrendering any pretense of an being an honest commentator on legal matters?

    1. The article discusses a specific issue regards the Dems and impeachment. In that context, why do you think it makes any sense to bring up random complaints about the other side?

      I’ll tell you why you think that – you are heavily biased and partisan, and so you can’t simply accept and comment on bad behavior from your side … your brain reflexively goes “but, but, but … they did it too.”

      That is your problem, not Turley’s.

    2. “Bythebook,” for you to blame Prof. Turley for pointing out the true nature of this sham impeachment, is blaming the messenger for the message, and not the person who make the statement. By virtue of Rep. Crow’s remarks, he brings back memories of Adam Schiff’s making up the transcript of the President’s conversation with the Pres. of Ukraine, that this entire matter is about.
      It is clear from Rep. Crow’s TV appearances, that the entire impeachment argument is about the 2020 election, and how the public’s perception of the matter is affected.
      Unfortunately, the media did not give this Congressman the pinnochios he deserved and did not correct his statements as being lies.
      What Rep Crow did, was not much different than Susan Rice’s lies about the Benghazi embassy attack that killed our Ambassador.

  8. While I’m aware of the Framers’ writings on impeachment and the historical precedents for impeachment for conduct beyond statutory crimes, I think this episode helps illustrate the practical problems in so doing. Without a statutory crime, there is no list of elements to be proven, no accepted definition, no body of case law we can rely on to define the contours of the offense – save the Senate’s historical refusal to convict in every prior case of impeachment. And so the whole thing inevitably descends into free-form politicking.

  9. “As a former partner in a large firm..”
    Lawyers in large firms most often know nothing about trying cases. There are few trial lawyers out there in any region of the U.S. If there are ten thousand lawyers in Eastern Missouri there might be 100 are are well experienced and good at trying jury trials and doing appeals. Large firms spend their time jabbering and working out agreements.
    It is obvious that this guy does not know itShay from Shinola.

    1. not often, USUALLY.

      the guys that are good at trials are those who do a lot of them.
      they’re almost always criminal defense lawyers who work for the the government as solos.

      big law is all above that, although, they hire some former AUSA types so that they can have a “white collar defense” section. So that’s like one guy in the whole office who actually knows about putting on a lot of evidence from experience. the rest are either blowhards or workhorses at shuffling papers

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