Posts tagged with "House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California)"

Democrats deploy new impeachment plan of attack after White House refuses to cooperate

October 11, 2019

House Democrats are now saying that they don’t need any help from the White House to make a case for impeachment, NBC News reports.

To circumvent Executive Branch efforts to impede and obstruct the House impeachment inquiry, Democrats have launched a fresh offensive: They intend to inundate the White House with subpoenas; as well as requests for interviews with people who no longer work in the administration.

Democrats issued additional subpoenas for testimony and relevant documents on October 10 to Igor Fruman and Lev Parnas —two associates of the president’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, both of whom are alleged to have helped Giuliani dig for dirt on the Bidens in Ukraine. They were requested to appear for depositions this Thursday and Friday before Congress, but before they could appear on Capitol Hill, they were arrested Wednesday night on charges tied to campaign finance violations, NBC News says.

Since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) formally announced the impeachment inquiry last month, Democrats have so far issued eight subpoenas—including those to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Rudy Giuliani, White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, Defense Secretary Mark Esper, Office of Management and Budget Acting Chief Russell Vought, and U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland In addition, they have requested documents from Vice President Mike Pence.

However, few, if any, of the current administration leaders are expected to respond to the Democrat’s subpoenas and requests. Just this week, Ambassador Sondland declined to testify, on orders from the State Department and President Donald Trump.

Therefore, the Democrats are targeting former officials,  who are now private citizens, and would not fall under the White House ‘s claims of executive privilege. Kurt Volker, who recently resigned as U.S. special envoy to Ukraine, testified before Congress last week, several days after he left the administration.

On Monday, Trump’s former Russia adviser Fiona Hill, volunteered to meet in a closed-door session with several congressional committees. A letter addressed to Hill, obtained by NBC, requested that she turn over several documents that date back to January 2017.

Congress returns next week from a two-week recess and Democrats are expected to speed up their investigation that could lead them filing articles of impeachment against the president. Two sources told NBC News that Pelosi will hold another caucus-wide conference call on Friday afternoon, so rank and file members can receive an update about the impeachment inquiry.

Research contact: @NBCNews

Trump’s impeachment tantrums disengage key 2020 supporters

October 4, 2019

Women across the nation are viewing President Donald Trump’s impeachment-incited tirades with consternation and concern, Politico reports. And they do not represent the only key voting bloc that has backed off since the whistleblower report was released to Congress in late September.

Indeed, nearly a half-dozen polls conducted since September 24—when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) announced the official launch of an impeachment inquiry—have found female voters rallying behind her call to action; intensifying concerns among White House allies that the white women who helped carry Trump to victory in 2016 can no longer be counted on next November.

Specifically, 57% of registered female voters strongly or somewhat approved of impeachment in a CBS survey released September 30; and  62% of women in a Quinnipiac University survey released Monday said they thought “Trump believes he is above the law.”

The development comes, according to Politico, just as two more key demographics—Independent voters and college-educated whites—are exhibiting ever-larger “fault lines” in their resistance to impeachment.

What’s more, the allegations against Trump—that he leveraged U.S. aid to Ukraine, holding back funding unless the eastern European nation agreed to supply “opposition research” on Joe Biden, a Democratic frontrunner in the 2020 presidential election—also are changing the dynamics on Capitol Hill.

Should impeachment gain the support of an undeniable majority of likely voters, Republicans legislators who previously declined to distance themselves from the president could quickly change their calculus, the news outlet says—setting Trump on the same lonely course that led to President Richard Nixon’s Watergate-era resignation in August 1974.

“From my point of view as a Republican pollster, the president’s base has been solid so far,” Micah Roberts, a partner at Public Opinion Strategies, which oversaw an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll conducted last week, told Politico during an interview. “But college-educated whites have electoral significance for us in the suburbs and can completely shift the dynamic and the conversation just by virtue of shifting the overall numbers.”

In some cases, that shift already has started: Fifty percent of college-educated whites in an NPR/Marist College survey said they approved of House Democrats’ decision to launch the formal impeachment inquiry into Trump. That compares to a narrower margin of support for the move (45-43) in a Politico/Morning Consult poll released Wednesday.

“If you look at college-educated whites, those are probably some of the most engaged voters. They are a big and important chunk of the electorate and they have shifted the most resolutely toward impeachment so far,” Roberts said.

“I really don’t like where we are right now,” said one prominent Republican pollster.

To be sure, Politico says, some of the same polls include evidence suggesting impeachment could become a political risk for Democrats as they head into a heated election year. And the rapid-pace environment in which the impeachment process has already unfolded, combined with varying levels of understanding of the process itself, mean a lot of voters are still in “wait-and-see mode,” according to Roberts.

Finally, some polls have underscored mixed feelings among voters toward the former vice president, which would be a positive sign for the president. For example, 42% of voters in a Monmouth survey said Biden “probably exerted pressure on Ukrainian officials to avoid investigating” his son during his time in office; but only 26%t of voters in a Reuters/Ipsos poll said they believe Biden is attempting to conceal a potential scandal ahead of 2020.

With Elizabeth Warren already ahead by several percentage points in key primary and caucus areas, the opinions on Biden may, in the end, be moot.

Research contact: @politico

House showdown on impeachment could be imminent

July 18, 2019

Following  President Donald Trump’s racists tweets and rants this week against the four progressive congresswomen of color who have been dubbed The Squad, Representative Al Green (D-Texas) introduced articles of impeachment on July 16, forcing a vote—and setting up a potential showdown—in the Democratic-controlled House.

Under House rules, The Huffington Post reported, Green can force the chamber to act on his resolution within two legislative days. He has called for an up-or-down vote. House leadership could vote to table it or refer it to the Judiciary Committee for action.

The vote was predicted to take place as soon as Wednesday night, July 17. The Texas lawmaker read the articles aloud on the House floor on Tuesday night, citing the president’s “go back” to other countries rant against Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (New York), Ilhan Omar (Minnesota), Ayanna Pressley (Massachusetts), and Rashida Tlaib (Michigan).

Green said, ″Donald John Trump, by causing such harm to the society of the United States, is unfit to be president and warrants impeachment, trial and removal from office”

Further, Green accused the president of bringing “contempt, ridicule, disgrace, and disrepute” to the office, The Huffington Post reported.

Although House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) has so far defied calls for impeachment—fearful that her party members could face political jeopardy in 2020, if they go forward—according to The Washington Post, 86 House Democrats say they support at least opening an impeachment inquiry.

Green’s resolution came hours after the House voted to condemn as racist Trump’s attacks on the four freshmen.

“To condemn a racist President is not enough, we must impeach him,” Green said in a statement Tuesday about his decision to introduce articles of impeachment against Trump. “This will be a defining vote. The world is watching, and history will judge us all.”

Research contact: @RepAlGreen

Editor’s note:  NBC News reported that the House voted on Wednesday to table Green’s resolution to impeach the president. Led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) the vote came in at 332-95, effectively killing the measure.

Speaker Pelosi tells ‘The Squad’ not to knock heads with more moderate House Democrats

July 12, 2019

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) laid down the law to House Democrats on July 10. The elder statesperson and party leader said that in-fighting among caucus members could not be countenanced—either on Twitter or in media interviews—because it would jeopardize their majority vote.

Without naming names, her target was clear: the four liberal freshmen known as “The Squad,” The Washington Post reported.

“You got a complaint? You come and talk to me about it. But do not tweet about our members and expect us to think that that is just okay,” Pelosi told Democrats.

But “The Squad”—Representatives. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (New York.), Ilhan Omar (Minnesota), Rashida Tlaib (Michigan) and Ayanna Pressley (Massachusetts)—said she was speaking from a bully pulpit and that they didn’t appreciate her tactics of intimidation.

The four are struggling with the speaker’s moves to isolate them in recent weeks, according to the Post’s interviews with the lawmakers, congressional aides and allies.

According to the news outlet, Pelosi has made at least half a dozen remarks dismissing the group or their far-left proposals on the environment and health care. More recently she scorned their lonely opposition to the party’s emergency border bill last month.

And, the Post reported, she defended those comments Wednesday, saying, “I have no regrets about anything. Regrets is not what I do,” doubling down on her claim that the group has little power in the House.

“When these comments first started, I kind of thought that she was keeping the progressive flank at more of an arm’s distance in order to protect more moderate members, which I understood,” Ocasio-Cortez told The Washington Post. “But the persistent singling out . . . it got to a point where it was just outright disrespectful . . . the explicit singling out of newly elected women of color.”

The four women are trying to figure out how to respond, texting one another and weighing whether to confront Pelosi to ask her to stop. But for now, they are focused on their congressional duties, even as they defend their votes in the House that have drawn Pelosi’s ire.

“Thank God my mother gave me broad shoulders and a strong back. I can handle it. I’m not worried about me,” said Pressley, who called Pelosi’s comments “demoralizing.” “I am worried about the signal that it sends to people I speak to and for, who sent me here with a mandate, and how it affects them.”

However, their ability to work together—or refusal to—will have major implications for Democrats as they seek to oust President Trump and retain their majority in next year’s election.

“A majority is a fragile thing,” Pelosi said, according to two people present for the remarks, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the private meeting, adding that members should show “some level of respect and sensitivity” to more moderate colleagues: “You make me the target, but don’t make our [moderates] the target in all of this, because we have important fish to fry.”

Research contact: @washingtonpost

Pelosi: White House did not warn me about retaliatory strike against Iran

June 24, 2019

Not only did President Donald Trump not seek ratification from Congress for a military strike on Iran on June 21—but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) said on Friday that she had not even been informed of the administration’s plans for retaliation against the Islamic Republic.

The White House cancelled its plans ten minutes before the action, with planes already in the air. The president explained that he had halted the military action because it would have resulted in a “disproportionate” number of Iranian casualties after no Americans were killed in that nation’s strike on a U.S. drone on June 20.

Just a couple of days earlier, the House had voted to repeal the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force—however, the bill had not yet received approval from the Senate, so the president was not clearly obligated to ask for Congressional ratification.

However, Politico reported, Pelosi is second in line to the presidency, and as a formal courtesy, would traditionally have been informed of the contemplated action.

Indeed, the news outlet noted, conventionally, House and Senate leadership, and chair and ranking members on the national security-related and other key committees are told about an imminent U.S. military action.

Some effort was made to keep them in the loop: Senior lawmakers were briefed at the White House about how the United States planned to respond to the drone incident on Thursday afternoon, but no set plans were made at that time.

In a formal statement Friday, Pelosi warned, “We are in an extremely dangerous and sensitive situation with Iran.  We must calibrate a response that de-escalates and advances American interests, and we must be clear as to what those interests are.

“During our meeting with the President at the White House,” she added, “Congressional Leaders stressed the necessity that we work with our allies and not strengthen the hand of Iran’s hardliners. Democratic Leaders emphasized that hostilities must not be initiated without the approval of Congress.

She noted, “We have no illusions about the dangerous conduct of the Iranian regime.  This is a dangerous, high-tension situation that requires a strong, smart, and strategic approach.”

Research contact: @SpeakerPelosi

Pelosi meets with caucus to discuss strategies on Trump and impeachment

May 22, 2019

Following former White House counsel Don McGahn’s failure to appear before the House Judiciary Committee on May 21, Congressional Democratic leaders said they had worn out their patience—and that President Donald Trump had exhausted his options for stonewalling legislators.

Outraged over White House obstruction of their investigative efforts, House Democrats began urging Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) to address the looming Constitutional crisis by launching impeachment proceedings immediately.

“We are confronting what might be the largest, broadest cover-up in American history,” Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told reporters. If a House inquiry “leads to other avenues, including impeachment,” the Maryland Democrat said, “so be it,” according to a report by Stars and Stripes.

Representatives Joaquin Castro of Texas and Diana DeGette of Colorado added their voices to the chorus. “It’s time for Congress to open an impeachment inquiry. There is political risk in doing so, but there’s a greater risk to our country in doing nothing,” Castro said on Twitter. “This is a fight for our democracy.”

Indeed, according to a report by The Hill, all told, at least 25 Democrats are now on record supporting the start of proceedings to oust Trump. That list includes several committee chairs and members of the Speaker’s own leadership team.

While Pelosi had hoped for a slower, more orderly process, she recognizes that starting an inquiry may be the only way for House Democrats to obtain the documentation and testimony on Russian interference in the 2016 campaign and obstruction of justice by the administration.

In a sign that she may be reaching her tipping point, Pelosi invited some members of the House Democratic Caucus to a meeting on Wednesday, May 22, to assess strategy, Stars and Stripes reported.

“This isn’t about politics, it’s not about passion, it’s not about prejudice,” she said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Tuesday. “It’s about patriotism and it’s about the presentation of the facts, so that the American people can see why we’re going down a certain path.”

Research contact: @starsandstripes

Barr tries to provoke Pelosi: ‘Did you bring your handcuffs?’

May 17, 2019

On two occasions within the past month, the U.S. attorney general has, literally, been a scofflaw.

NBC News reports that, after refusing to appear before the House Judiciary Committee several weeks ago and ignoring a subpoena, AG William Barr ribbed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) on May 15 about an impending vote to find him in contempt of Congress.

Barr approached Pelosi at a National Peace Officers’ Memorial Day event outside the Capitol, shook her hand and said loudly, “Madam Speaker, did you bring your handcuffs?” a bystander told NBC News.

Pelosi—whose role it is to schedule the contempt vote against Barr before the full House—remained unperturbed.

She smiled in reply and indicated that the House sergeant-at-arms was present at the ceremony, should an arrest be necessary, the bystander said. Barr chuckled and walked away.

But this is not the first time he has sneered at the situation. Barr also joked about the contempt resolution at a farewell ceremony for former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein last week.

“This must be a record, of an attorney general being proposed for contempt within 100 days of taking office,” Barr said with a smile.

Research contact: @NBCNews

Trump claims executive privilege over full Mueller report; House Judiciary votes to hold Barr in contempt

May 9, 2019

At the instigation of the Justice Department on the evening of May 7, President Donald Trump claimed executive privilege over the full Mueller report.

The maneuver represented a last-ditch effort to shield hidden portions of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s unredacted report on Russian interference in the 2016 election, as well as the supporting evidence he collected, from Congress and the American people.

“This is to advise you that the president has asserted executive privilege over the entirety of the subpoenaed materials,” a Justice Department official, Stephen Boyd, wrote Wednesday morning, referencing not only the Mueller report but the underlying evidence that House Democrats are seeking.

The assertion came as the House Judiciary Committee was set to vote on Wednesday, May 8, on whether the House of Representatives should hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress for defying a subpoena for the same materials, The New York Times reported.

In response, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-New York) commented in a formal release, “Tonight, in the middle of good faith negotiations with the attorney general, the [DoJ] abruptly announced that it would instead ask President Trump to invoke executive privilege on all of the materials subject to our subpoena.

“This is, of course, not how executive privilege works,” Nadler noted. “The White House waived these privileges long ago, and the department seemed open to sharing these materials with us earlier today. The department’s legal arguments are without credibility, merit, or legal or factual basis.”

He said that the move could have alarming and risky repercussions, remarking, “Worse, this kind of obstruction is dangerous. The department’s decision reflects President Trump’s blanket defiance of Congress’s constitutionally mandated duties.

“In the coming days,” Nadler continued, “I expect that Congress will have no choice but to confront the behavior of this lawless administration.  The committee will also take a hard look at the officials who are enabling this cover-up.  In the meantime, the committee will proceed with consideration of the contempt citation as planned.  I hope that the Department will think better of this last minute outburst and return to negotiations.”

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders released a blistering statement: “The American people see through Chairman Nadler’s desperate ploy to distract from the President’s historically successful agenda and our booming economy. Neither the White House nor Attorney General Barr will comply with Chairman Nadler’s unlawful and reckless demands,” she wrote, according to The Times.

She added: “Faced with Chairman Nadler’s blatant abuse of power, and at the Attorney General’s request, the President has no other option than to make a protective assertion of executive privilege.”

Shortly after 1 p.m. on May 8, after negotiations had once again tanked, Nadler said before the committee vote, “This is information we are legally entitled to receive and we are Constitutionally obligated to review .… The Trump administration has taken obstruction of Congress to new heights.”

The committee voted along partisan lines to hold Barr in contempt of Congress  (24 Democrats versus 16 Republicans). The contempt citation now will go before the full House chamber for a vote, where Democrats hold a 38-seat majority. The timing of that vote will be up to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California),

Research contact: @HouseJudiciary

Speaker Pelosi says AG Barr perjured himself before Congress—and reprisals are required

May 3, 2019

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-California) is outraged over the Attorney General’s obfuscations—in his written summary of the Mueller report; in his characterization of his communications with the special counsel; and in his congressional testimony.

Pelosi said on Thursday, May 2 that AG William Barr  had committed a crime by lying to lawmakers during his testimony on Capitol Hill, The Hill reported.

“What is deadly serious about it is the attorney general of the United States of America was not telling the truth to the Congress of the United States. That’s a crime,” Pelosi said during a press conference in the Capitol.

The remarks came as Democrats on Capitol Hill are increasingly lashing out at Barr for his handling of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russia’s election interference.

Some lawmakers are pressing for Barr to resign; others have floated the idea of impeachment; and still others—chief among them, the Chair of the House Judiciary Committee Jerrold Nadler (D-New York)—are weighing whether to bring contempt of Congress charges against AG, who refused an invitation to testify before the House panel and its counsels on Thursday.

Pelosi, who has been cautious to date about escalating the standoff between her caucus and the GOP, declined to say how—or if—Democrats would challenge Barr’s actions, deferring those decisions to the committee heads. But she strongly suggested some response is forthcoming.

Pelosi cited a recent statement from Representative Nadler, which warned that “Barr’s moment of accountability will come soon enough.”

“I think that probably applies,” Pelosi said. Asked if jail time is appropriate for Barr, she again punted to the committees.

“There’s a process that’s involved here,” she said, according to The Hill. “The committees will act upon how we will proceed.”

Appearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, May 1, Barr was grilled by panel Democrats, who accused him of misrepresenting the Mueller team’s findings for the political purpose of protecting President Donald Trump, the news outlet said.

The Democratic rebukes were fueled by revelations that Mueller had written to Barr on March 24 and called him directly on March 25, expressing concerns over the nature of the attorney general’s four-page summary of Mueller’s report.

In that letter, which became public just hours before Wednesday’s Senate hearing, Mueller said ““The summary letter the Department sent to Congress and released to the public late in the afternoon of March 24 did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance of this Office’s work and conclusions.”

Barr, after receiving the letter, testified to Congress that he was ‘”not aware”of any reservations from Mueller or his team regarding the summary letter.

According to the Hill, Pelosi said she “lost sleep” Wednesday night watching replays of Barr’s testimony.

“How sad it is for us to see the top law enforcement officer in our country misrepresenting—withholding—the truth from the Congress of the United States,” she said.

Asked directly whether Barr committed a crime, Pelosi didn’t hesitate.

“He lied to Congress; he lied to Congress. And if anybody else did that, it would be considered a crime,” Pelosi said.

“Nobody is above the law; not the president of the United States, and not the attorney general.”

Research contact: @thehill

Yea or nay? Pelosi’s equivocation on impeachment splits House Democrats

March 15, 2019

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi chooses her battles carefully—and she sure knows how to pick her way through a G.O.P. minefield.

In a March 11 interview with The Washington Post Magazine that has since gone viral, Pelosi said that she is “not for [the] impeachment” of President Donald Trump because “it divides the country … And he’s just not worth it.”

However, her statement—which was well-received by the president and his Republican posse during a time of partisan division—only has widened the fissure among House Democrats.

On the one hand, she reaffirmed what many cooler heads in the caucus are saying: That impeachment should be based solely on facts and evidence—not political considerations. And that the evidence of criminal conduct should be so unassailable that it inflames bipartisan censure.

On the other hand, many of the party’s newbies—elected in 2016—think there’s already evidence of malfeasance and it should be acted on immediately.

Thus, Representative Adam Schiff (D-California), chair of the House Intelligence Committee, sided with the Speaker, telling reporters, “A bipartisan process would have to be extra clear and compelling. I think the Speaker is absolutely right. In its absence, an impeachment … becomes a partisan exercise doomed for failure. And I see little to be gained by putting the country through that kind of wrenching experience.”

Conversely, Representative Jamie Raskin (D-Maryland), who has been in office since 2017, told Politico that impeaching the president isn’t about “whether or not the president is worth it. The question is whether the republic is worth it and whether the public interest commands it and whether there are high crimes and misdemeanors.”

Raskin added, “We can’t get so frustrated with Donald Trump that we impeach him just for being Donald Trump, but we can’t get so frustrated with Donald Trump that we don’t impeach him because he’s Donald Trump.”

Politico noted that, while Speaker Pelosi had somewhat distanced herself from taking action on impeachment, she had not ruled it out–leaving it as a very real and possible option, should the committees’ investigations turn up any real dirt.

“I think there’s enough going on in the various committees for impeachment to take care of itself,” House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-South Carolina) told the political news outlet. “These committees have to build will in the American people for impeachment. Impeachment is a political question. I don’t care what we may feel — if the public isn’t there, we can’t go there. And I think the committee hearings and various things going on are what’s needed in order for the public to get where they need to be.”

Research contact: @sarahnferris