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Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that the testimony by acting U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor and State Department official George Kent was "devastating," and that it "corroborated evidence of bribery" that President Trump himself has admitted to.

Why it matters: In Pelosi's first press conference since the public phase of the impeachment inquiry began, the speaker claimed that what's already on the record about Trump's conduct "makes what Nixon did look almost small."

  • The bribery language, as opposed to "quid pro quo," reflects a pivot in messaging Democrats intend to deploy in order to make the allegations easier to understand.
  • Pelosi cautioned, however, that the party hasn't yet decided whether to impeach.
  • She also dismissed Republicans' criticism of secondhand testimony by witnesses as "fraudulent," pointing out that the White House has blocked all of the officials who would have firsthand knowledge of the allegations from testifying.

The exchange:

REPORTER: You talked about bribery a second ago. That's a very serious charge. 
PELOSI: It's in the Constitution. You know, we're talking Latin around here. E pluribus unum — from many, one. Quid pro quo — bribery. Bribery. And that is in the Constitution attached to the impeachment proceedings. 
REPORTER: What was the bribe here? 
PELOSI: The bribe is to grant or withhold military assistance in return for a public statement of a fake investigation into the elections. That's bribery. 
REPORTER: Are you looking at an article of impeachment — ?
PELOSI: We haven't even made a decision to impeach. That's what the inquiry is about. And when the committees decide that, they will decide what the articles are. But I am saying that what the president has admitted to and says it's perfect. I said it's perfectly wrong. It's bribery. 

Go deeper: Highlights from the first public impeachment hearing

Go deeper

Tech scrambles to derail inauguration threats

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Tech companies are sharing more information with law enforcement in a frantic effort to prevent violence around the inauguration, after the government was caught flat-footed by the Capitol siege.

Between the lines: Tech knows it will be held accountable for any further violence that turns out to have been planned online if it doesn't act to stop it.

Dave Lawler, author of World
2 hours ago - World

Uganda's election: Museveni declared winner, Wine claims fraud

Wine rejected the official results of the election. Photo: Sumy Sadruni/AFP via Getty

Yoweri Museveni was declared the winner of a sixth presidential term on Saturday, with official results giving him 59% to 35% for Bobi Wine, the singer-turned-opposition leader.

Why it matters: This announcement was predictable, as the election was neither free nor fair and Museveni had no intention of surrendering power after 35 years. But Wine — who posed a strong challenged to Museveni, particularly in urban areas, and was beaten and arrested during the campaign — has said he will present evidence of fraud. The big question is whether he will mobilize mass resistance in the streets.

Off the Rails

Episode 1: A premeditated lie lit the fire

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. Axios takes you inside the collapse of a president with a special series.

Episode 1: Trump’s refusal to believe the election results was premeditated. He had heard about the “red mirage” — the likelihood that early vote counts would tip more Republican than the final tallies — and he decided to exploit it.

"Jared, you call the Murdochs! Jason, you call Sammon and Hemmer!”

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