Fox contributor: Even if Trump's Ukraine bribery was illegal, it wasn't egregious enough for impeachment

Andrew McCarthy: Impeachment and removal has to be on the level of “a foreign power purchasing the presidency”

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Citation From the November 19, 2019, edition of Fox News' The Daily Briefing

DANA PERINO (HOST): Andy, if you could explain to people the difference between the statute and in the Constitution what it says about bribery.

ANDREW MCCARTHY (FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR): Yeah. At the very end, Chairman Schiff was talking about itemizing bribery and how the framers had itemized bribery in the Impeachment Clause. With the clause says is that a president can be impeached for conviction of treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors. The statute that Adam Schiff is talking about was not enacted until almost two centuries after the Impeachment Clause, in 1962, and it lays out a series of crimes under the auspices of impeachment, some of which are much lesser crimes than what the framers were talking about.

If you look at the Impeachment Clause, they're talking about something that is very specific and very serious, which is a president who aligns with a foreign power. So we're talking about treason, which is adhering to enemies of the United States, or an American actually levying war against the United States. Treason only applies to enemies who we are actually at war with. What the framers were concerned about was a foreign power essentially purchasing the president. So, relying on treason doesn't cover all of that.

What they were talking about there and to fill that gap is bribery, and the idea of very specifically that they were talking about or worrying about was the possibility that a foreign power would essentially buy the president so the president of the United States pursued the foreign power's interests rather than the American people's interest. The bribery statute, on the other hand, again enacted in 1962, talks about a lot of lesser, far lesser crimes than that.

For example, the thing the Democrats are honing in on here, which is that you don't even have to have a completed bribe. If you make what they characterize as a corrupt demand, that is enough for liability under the federal bribery statute. I think that's completely appropriate in terms of federal prosecution, but when we're talking about impeachment, the presumption here is that the American people choose who is going to be president, and if you're going to remove the president, it has to be something that is of an egregious nature. And the egregious nature of bribery that we're talking about here is a foreign power purchasing the presidency. I don't think we have anything close to that here.