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Ambassador Sondland blew the impeachment inquiry wide open

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The pundits and talking heads keep looking at the polls and noting that the dial on Donald Trump and the impeachment has barely moved. With the implication that it is stuck unto eternity. It takes time for the change to percolate and become our morning coffee.

Gordon Sondland, the US ambassador to the European Union, has changed things on multiple levels.

First, his statement of fact. It included: "Was there quid pro quo? ... the answer is yes."

Republicans on the committee make much of the claim that Democrats have moved from charging quid pro quo to extortion to bribery. Just to clarify, quid pro quo simply means "this for that". It encompasses both bribery and extortion.

It is bribery if the main aspect of the transaction is a payoff to a person in authority. It is extortion if a threat or actual force is used to coerce the payment (whether that is money, goods or services). All three apply in this case.

Trump attempted to get something of personal value (quid) in exchange for (pro) releasing money to Ukraine that they should have received anyway (quo). That is demanding a bribe. The fact that Ukraine needed these funds desperately for arms to defend itself against Russia and Russian proxies is the equivalent of "do me a favour or I'll let the gangsters shoot you," and that makes it extortion.

The reason "quid pro quo" became the term of choice is........

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