Bribery Explained Using Boolean Logic

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.

The Democratic report on impeachment accuses President Trump of, among other things, criminal bribery. What’s up with that? Wasn’t it really extortion? Allow me to Boolesplain:

Extortion: If you don’t announce an investigation of Joe Biden then I won’t approve your military aid package.

Bribery: If I do approve your military aid package then you will announce an investigation of Joe Biden. Capiche?

They’re the same thing. Legally, though, the nice thing about the bribery construction is that bribery is specifically mentioned in the Constitution as an impeachable offense.

UPDATE: After a Twitter exchange about this, I realize maybe I need to explain further. The first statement is of the form “If A then B.” The second statement is of the form “If not B then not A.” The second version is called the contrapositive of the first, and it is logically identical. For example:

  • If you are human then you are a mammal.
  • Contrapositive: If you are not a mammal then you are not human.

These are logically equivalent.

MOTHER JONES NEEDS YOUR HELP

We have about a $200,000 funding gap and less than a week to go in our hugely important First $500,000 fundraising campaign. We urgently need your help, and a lot of help, this week so we can pay for the one-of-a-kind journalism you get from us.

Learn more in “Less Dreading, More Doing,” where we lay out this wild moment and how we can keep charging hard for you. And please help if you can: $5, $50, or $500—every gift from every person truly matters right now.

payment methods

MOTHER JONES NEEDS YOUR HELP

We have about a $200,000 funding gap and less than a week to go in our hugely important First $500,000 fundraising campaign. We urgently need your help, and a lot of help, this week so we can pay for the one-of-a-kind journalism you get from us.

Learn more in “Less Dreading, More Doing,” where we lay out this wild moment and how we can keep charging hard for you. And please help if you can: $5, $50, or $500—every gift from every person truly matters right now.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate