Former White House ethics lawyer Richard Painter called out President Donald Trump’s latest scheme to shore up Republican support against impeachment as “felony bribery.”
The Trump re-election campaign sent out a fundraising appeal Wednesday to its massive email list asking for contributions that would be divided between the president and three vulnerable Republican senators — Colorado’s Cory Gardner, Iowa’s Joni Ernst and North Carolina’s Thom Tillis — that was explicitly tied to his impeachment defense.
“If we don’t post strong fundraising numbers,” the request warned, “we won’t be able to defend the President from this baseless Impeachment WITCH HUNT.”
Painter, a law professor and ethics czar under former President George W. Bush, said the Trump campaign’s request was clearly illegal, and placed the GOP senators in legal jeopardy, as well.
“This is a bribe,” Painter tweeted. “Any other American who offered cash to the jury before a trial would go to prison for felony bribery. But he can get away with it? Criminal.”
Painter said the senators could raise their own campaign funds, and any one of them that accepted the donations from Trump before the impeachment trial was guilty of accepting a bribe.
“If (Trump) doesn’t want to get hit with a bribery charge, during the impeachment process he had better stick to raising money for GOP challengers in senate races, not incumbent senators who will vote guilty or not guilty in his case,” Painter tweeted.
The senators can raise their own campaign cash.
Any senator who accepts cash from @realDonaldTrump before the impeachment trial is guilty of accepting a bribe and should go to the slammer.
— Richard W. Painter (@RWPUSA) October 31, 2019