Rush Limbaugh took to “the golden EIB microphone” on Tuesday to unpack the latest developments in the Democrat-led impeachment inquiry, which continued Tuesday with a few more of the Democrats’ “star witnesses,” most notably Lt. Colonel Alexander Vindman. Among the exchanges in Tuesday’s hearings Limbaugh highlighted was a crucial line of questions and comments from Texas Republican John Ratcliffe, who, as Rush put it, “busted” the Democrats on their central accusation of “bribery” against President Trump.
Ratcliffe’s exchange with Vindman and State Department official Jennifer Williams, said Limbaugh, “illustrates the phoniness and the moving-target nature of this so-called impeachment inquiry.”
To let his audience witness the moment for themselves, the host played the following clip from Ratcliffe’s questions (transcript via RushLimbaugh.com):
RATCLIFFE: Ms. Williams, you’ve never used the word “bribery” or “bribe” to explain President Trump’s conduct, correct?
WILLIAMS: No, sir.
RATCLIFFE: Colonel Vindman, you haven’t either?
VINDMAN: That is correct.
RATCLIFFE: The problem is, in an impeachment inquiry that the speaker of the House says is all about bribery — where bribery is the impeachable offense — no one has used the word “bribery” to describe President Trump’s conduct. None of them. These aren’t all of the deposition transcripts. These are just the 10 that have been released. Six weeks of witness interviews in this impeachment inquiry, hundreds of hours of testimony, thousands of questions asked, thousands of answers given. The number of times that witnesses have been asked any question about whether or not President Trump’s conduct constituted bribery — before Ambassador Yovanovitch was asked by my colleague Congressman Stewart last Thursday — is zero.
“Stop and think about this,” said Limbaugh. “Now, imagine also as you hear this that sitting right nearby are all of the Democrats, and the media is packed into this room, and they have just been undressed and exposed. The media has been exposed as willing participants in the Democrats’ effort here to get rid of Trump by reversing the election results. They’ve got nothing.”
“They start out with ‘quid pro quo’ and all these other things and it doesn’t register because they focus grouped it,” Rush continued. “They found the American people were not being impacted by it at all. So they tried other words — bribery and what have you — and bribery stuck because it’s something everybody understands, it’s pretty simple to understand what it is, and it’d be very bad if a president actually did it. And yet nobody has yet accused Trump of it until Pelosi came along after the focus grouping.”
Limbaugh then turned again to Ratcliffe’s questions, which he concluded by asserting:
RATCLIFFE: When Speaker Pelosi says this is all about bribery, she’s promised us evidence of bribery that would be compelling and overwhelming — and instead, it’s invisible.
“Because it doesn’t exist. It literally doesn’t exist,” said Limbaugh. “So you’ve got Schiff sitting there. He’s been exposed as a fraud. The Democrats know it and the media know it, and they don’t even care. They’re not even daunted by this, I’ll guarantee you. Because as far as they’re concerned this is never gonna escape the hearing room. Nobody’s gonna ever know about this. They’re not gonna spend any time on it.”
Below is a more complete transcript of Ratcliffe’s questioning of Vindman and Williams Tuesday, as reported by The Daily Wire:
RATCLIFFE: At a press conference last Thursday, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said that President Trump committed the impeachable offense of “bribery,” evidenced in his July 25th call transcript with President Zelensky. In concert with that, multiple Democratic members of this committee gave TV and radio interviews over this past week discussing how the president’s conduct supported his impeachment for committing bribery — all of which struck me as very odd because for the longest time this was all about “quid pro quo,” according to the whistleblower complaint. But after witness after witness began saying there was no quid pro quo or even that quid pro quo was not even possible, we saw a shift from the Democrats, who briefly started to refer to the president’s conduct on the July 25 call as “extortion.” And now it’s shifted again, last week, to “bribery.”
Ms. Williams, you used the word “unusual” to describe the president’s call on July 25th. Lt. Colonel Vindman, you used the word “improper.” I’ve word-searched each of your transcripts, and the word “bribery” or “bribe” doesn’t appear anywhere in that. Ms. Williams, you’ve never used the word bribery or bribe to explain President Trump’s conduct, correct?
WILLIAMS: No sir.
RATCLIFFE: Colonel Vindman, you haven’t either?
RATCLIFFE: The problem is, in an impeachment inquiry that the Speaker of the House says is all about bribery — bribery is the impeachable offense — no witness has used the term “bribery” to describe the president’s conduct. Six weeks of witness interviews in this impeachment inquiry, hundreds of hours of testimony, thousands of questions asked, thousands of answers given. The number of times that witnesses have been asked any questions about whether or not President Trump’s conduct constituted bribery — before Ambassador [Marie] Yovanovitch was asked by my colleague Congressman [Chris] Stewart last Thursday — is zero. Zero. The number of times witnesses have used the word “bribery” or “bribe” to describe President Trump’s conduct in the last six weeks of this inquiry is zero.
In fact, in these 3,500 pages of sworn deposition testimony in just these ten transcripts released thus far, the word “bribery” appears in these 3,500 pages exactly one time. And ironically, it appears not in a description of President Trump’s alleged conduct. It appears in the description of Vice President [Joe] Biden’s alleged conduct.
This is important because as early as next week, my Democratic colleagues are going to say, “We need to vote on the evidence from this impeachment inquiry on the impeachment of the president for bribery.” They’re going to send a report to the Judiciary Committee. Because there’s more Democrats than Republicans, it’s likely going to pass. When that happens, the American people need to be clear that when the Democrats, what they are describing as bribery, not a single witness is describing as bribery.
We’ve heard many times in the course of these proceedings that the facts of the president are not in dispute, but the American people are asking: If the facts are the same, why do the crimes that the president is being accused of keep changing? Why do we go from “quid pro quo” to “extortion” now to “bribery”? The answer is polling….
It’s bad enough that the Democrats have forbidden White House lawyers from participating in this proceeding. It’s hard enough to defend yourself without your lawyers present. But what’s even worse is to try to defend yourself against an accusation that keeps changing in the middle of the proceeding. If Democrats accuse the president of high crime or an impeachable offense, he ought to at least know which one it is. And when Speaker Pelosi says this is all about “bribery,” she’s promised us evidence of bribery that would be compelling and overwhelming. And, instead, it’s invisible.