House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is ready and willing to lose control of the lower chamber to impeach President Trump, who she believes violated the U.S. Constitution in a call with the president of Ukraine this summer.
Texas Tribune CEO Evan Smith interviewed Pelosi at the news site’s annual “Trib Fest” on Saturday.
— Texas Tribune (@TexasTribune) September 29, 2019
“I want to ask you Speaker heading into the next election cycle, do you have an anxiety at all about any of the stuff we’re talking about, or anything we’re not talking about, impacting your ability to hold control of the House in 2020?” Smith said, staring oddly into the audience as he questioned the 79-year-old politician.
“It doesn’t matter,” Pelosi claimed. “Our first responsibility is to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
The remarks follow Pelosi’s abrupt 180 last week on impeaching President Trump. After more than a year resisting dozens in her caucus demanding impeachment, Pelosi announced plans to formally begin proceedings based on politically motivated whistleblower complaint about the president’s conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in July.
In the call, Trump pointed out former vice president Joe Biden boasts about his influence over Ukrainian officials as Obama’s right-hand man. Biden admitted on video to pressuring Ukraine’s leaders to fire a prosecutor looking into corruption at a natural gas company that paid his son, Hunter, millions during his tenure as VP.
Biden said in the video that he threatened to withhold $1 billion in aid to successfully force the prosecutor removal.
“There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great,” Trump told Zelensky, according to a transcript of the call published by CNN.
“Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it … it sounds horrible to me,” Trump said.
A whistleblower in the intelligence community filed a complaint about the conversation based on alleged concerns from second-hand sources who actually listened to the call, though the identities of both the original source and the whistleblower is unknown.
Trump and Zelensky have insisted there was no quid-pro-quo or pressure during the conversation, which Democrats have painted as a personal invitation from the president for Ukraine to investigate his political foe. Democrats are also alleging the Trump administration has attempted to cover up the whistleblower complaint.
“I think right now there is a cover-up of a cover-up,” Pelosi alleged.
The speaker cited “the facts” for her decision to move forward with impeachment.
“I have handled this with great care, with moderation, with great attention to what we knew was a fact and what was an allegation,” she told Smith.
“This is very bad news for our country because if – as it seems to be – our president has engaged in something that is so far beyond what our founders had in mind they knew some president might go beyond what the Constitution intended.”
America itself is on the line, Pelosi argued.
“If this activity, this pattern of behavior were to prevail … then it’s over for the republic,” she said. “We will have the equivalent of a monarchy.”
Pelosi alleged she’s “heartbroken” over the whole ordeal.
“Let us be prayerful. Let us be solemn. Let us try not to make it further divisive,” she said. “But we cannot ignore our oath of office to defend the Constitution of the United States from all enemies foreign and domestic.”
The Trump administration, meanwhile, is firing back at Democrats’ relentless campaign to unseat the president.
“Nancy Pelosi is more interested in her baseless impeachment threat than she is in doing her job and passing the (United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement), addressing the humanitarian crisis at the border, and working with President Trump,” spokeswoman Samantha Cotton told The Texas Tribune. “Texans realize that Nancy Pelosi is just another coastal elite committed to obstructing President Trump at every turn.”