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

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

Pelosi urges House members on both sides of aisle to terminate Trump’s ‘national emergency’

February 22, 2019

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) is backing a legislative effort to block President Donald Trump’s national emergency declaration.

A week ago, on February 15, the president proclaimed a national emergency in order to secure more funding for his southern border wall— but admitted that it was not a truly urgent situation, saying, “I could do the wall over a longer period of time. I didn’t need to do this, but I’d rather do it much faster.”

Now, Democrats are bringing a bill to the floor intended to terminate he emergency mandate—and Pelosi is urging House colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support the resolution, according to a letter obtained by Politico on February 20.

“I write to invite all Members of Congress to cosponsor Congressman Joaquin Castro’s privileged resolution to terminate this emergency declaration,” Pelosi wrote, noting that the House will “move swiftly to pass this bill.”

“The president’s decision to go outside the bounds of the law to try to get what he failed to achieve in the constitutional legislative process violates the Constitution and must be terminated,” she added.

“We have a solemn responsibility to uphold the Constitution, and defend our system of checks and balances against the President’s assault,” Pelosi wrote.

According to the Politico report, aides for Castro circulated an email Wednesday afternoon, announcing plans to introduce the resolution of disapproval after Trump’s declaration was published in the Federal Register this week.

Word-of-mouth is that the resolution will be introduced on the House floor today. As soon as the House votes on the resolution, the clock starts for Senate GOP leaders, who are required under law to put the measure to a vote within 18 days.

It would take just four GOP senators to join with Democrats to approve the resolution, which appears quite plausible, given Republican concern with Trump’s emergency declaration, Politico said.

Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) on Wednesday became the first GOP senator to publicly say she would support the Democratic resolution, according to the AP. Speaking at a Coast Guard ceremony in her state, Collins said Trump’s move “completely undermines” the role of Congress.

Trump would be certain to issue the first veto of his presidency over the measure, Politico says. To override him in the House, more than 50 Republicans would need to join with Democrats to secure the needed 288 votes.

Research contact: @heatherscope