Speaker Pelosi seems to think she can dictate the rules of a Senate impeachment trial, says Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
President Trump slammed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Monday for making demands of the Senate regarding his upcoming trial as she sits on two impeachment articles, accusing her of "crying for fairness" after leading an "unfair" process in the House.
Throughout the House Democrats' impeachment inquiry, Trump and fellow Republicans criticized elements of the process — including the initial closed-door sessions with witnesses, an invitation for him to participate in a hearing while he was overseas, and the decision to cite the president's assertion of executive privilege as evidence of obstruction as opposed to battling it out in court.
"Pelosi gives us the most unfair trial in the history of the U.S. Congress, and now she is crying for fairness in the Senate, and breaking all rules while doing so," Trump tweeted Monday morning. "She lost Congress once, she will do it again!"
Both chambers of Congress are engaged in an unusual battle over the next steps in the historic process after the House accused Trump of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress for his actions concerning Ukraine, in the third-ever impeachment of an American president.
Pelosi is now indicating she will not turn over the articles of impeachment to the Senate or name impeachment managers until the upper chamber announces the process of how the trial will be conducted.
Coinciding with that position, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has demanded that the Senate be allowed to subpoena documents and witnesses who did not appear before the House. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., responded by saying that the Senate's role is not to do what the House failed to do during what he has called "the most rushed, least thorough, and most unfair impeachment inquiry in modern history."
Pelosi fired back Monday morning, tweeting: "The House cannot choose our impeachment managers until we know what sort of trial the Senate will conduct. President Trump blocked his own witnesses and documents from the House, and from the American people, on phony complaints about the House process. What is his excuse now?"
Pelosi has also faced criticism for pushing House Democrats to pursue articles of impeachment on a tight timetable, only to drop that sense of urgency after the final vote. McConnell has accused her and fellow Democrats of getting "cold feet."
Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Mich., defended Pelosi on "Fox News Sunday," noting that President Bill Clinton was impeached in mid-December and managers were not appointed until Jan. 6 of the following year after the House returned from the holiday break. She suggested that the current process would not move any faster, even if Pelosi took swift action.
Marc Short, chief of staff to Vice President Pence, joins Chris Wallace on 'Fox News Sunday.'
Marc Short, chief of staff to Vice President Pence, showed confidence in the face of the current impeachment strategy being employed by House Democrats led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, stating that, ultimately, he believes they will be the first ones to budge and move what he called a "political exercise" closer to its conclusion.
Pelosi and most of the other Democrats in the House approved two articles of impeachment against President Trump last week for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, yet they have sat on those articles instead of delivering them to the Senate for a trial. Pelosi has claimed that she is waiting for the Republican-controlled Senate to set the process for the trial before she appoints impeachment managers. Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., pushes for the ability to issue subpoenas for additional witnesses and documents.
Later in the program, Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Mich., addressed the delay in the delivery of the articles of impeachment, claiming that while she does not know what the House's time frame will be, the present timeline is nothing out of the ordinary.
She pointed out that President Bill Clinton was impeached on Dec. 19, and the House did not appoint their managers until Jan. 6, after Congress returned from the holiday break. She does not believe the current Senate would move any faster, regardless of how quickly the House moved.
"Did you really think the United States Senate was going to start this trial before January 6?" she asked.
Host Chris Wallace pointed out that Pelosi is hoping to use her delay to give Shumer leverage in his discussions with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who has accused Pelosi of having "cold feet."
Sen. Chuck Schumer says he and Nancy Pelosi are on the same page as the two top Democrats in Congress try to put pressure on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell; chief congressional correspondent Mike Emanuel reports from Capitol Hill.
House Speaker Nancy Pelsoi Friday formally invited President Trump to give his 2020 State of the Union address before the U.S. House, just two days after the majority of Congress voted to impeach him.
In a letter to Trump, Pelosi cited the constitutional obligation to invite the president to speak “from time to time.”
“In the spirit of respecting our Constitution, I invite you to deliver your State of the Union address before a Joint Session of Congress on Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020 in the Chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives," Pelosi wrote.
The White House on Friday released a statement saying, "President Donald J. Trump has accepted the Speaker’s invitation to deliver the State of the Union Address on February 4, 2020."
The Feb. 4 address could come in the midst of a Senate trial if Pelosi sends over the two articles of impeachment House Democrats approved Wednesday. And Trump’s speech would happen at the height of the 2020 election campaign, with the Iowa caucuses scheduled a day prior.
During the 1999 State of the Union address given by then-President Bill Clinton, he did not mention the then-occurring impeachment trial in the Senate. Several Republican House members boycotted the 77-minute speech to show their displeasure with Clinton. Some Democrats, including Sens. Dianne Feinstein of California and Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, joined Republicans in urging Clinton to delay the address.
It wasn’t impeachment, but there was high-drama for Trump's last State of the Union. His planned January address before the newly-elected Democratic House majority was delayed because a record-long government shutdown that had Trump and Pelosi in a political standoff.
Pelosi thanks Democrats for 'moral courage.' Fox News correspondent Todd Piro reports.
Consider it a twist on the old question about a tree falling in the forest with no one to hear it: If the House adopts articles of impeachment but never sends them to the Senate, is a president truly impeached?
A Harvard law professor, who also served as a Democrat-called impeachment witness, answered with a resounding “no” in a column that speaks to the deep dilemma House Speaker Nancy Pelosi faces as she sits on two articles of impeachment against President Trump.
Pelosi, D-Calif., is apparently using the delay as leverage to extract favorable terms for a Senate trial. But Noah Feldman wrote for Bloomberg that an “indefinite delay” would pose a “serious problem”—as impeachment only technically happens when the articles are transmitted to the Senate.
“Both parts are necessary to make an impeachment under the Constitution: The House must actually send the articles and send managers to the Senate to prosecute the impeachment. And the Senate must actually hold a trial,” Feldman wrote.
“If the House does not communicate its impeachment to the Senate, it hasn’t actually impeached the president,” he continued. “If the articles are not transmitted, Trump could legitimately say he wasn’t truly impeached at all.”
Pelosi signaled late Wednesday after the House passed articles of impeachment—on abuse of power and obstruction of Congress—that she wanted reassurances that the Senate would hold a fair trial, likely involving certain Democrat-sought witnesses, before sending over the articles.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., on the floor Thursday seemed baffled at Pelosi’s move to withhold the articles, arguing that the House speaker doesn’t have the leverage she thinks she does.
“Some House Democrats imply they are withholding the articles for some kind of leverage,” McConnell said. “I admit, I’m not sure what leverage there is in refraining from sending us something we do not want. Alas, if they can figure that out, they can explain.”
He added: “Following weeks of pronouncements about the urgency of the situation, urgent situation, the prosecutors appear to have developed cold feet. Democrat prosecution seems to have gotten cold feet and be unsure about whether they want to proceed to the trial. Like I said, a very unusual spectacle, and in my view, certainly not one that reflects well on the House.”
“So, we’ll see whether House Democrats ever want to work up the courage to actually take their accusation to trial,” McConnell said.
Despite McConnell saying the Senate doesn’t actually “want” to receive the articles, President Trump has called for an immediate trial and is evidently looking for his day in court to be acquitted for the alleged crimes surrounding his efforts to pressure Ukraine to launch politically advantageous investigations. The request came after the administration had withheld millions in military aid to Ukraine, though Trump has denied any quid pro quo was at play.
“I got Impeached last night without one Republican vote being cast with the Do Nothing Dems on their continuation of the greatest Witch Hunt in American history,” Trump tweeted Thursday. “Now the Do Nothing Party want to Do Nothing with the Articles & not deliver them to the Senate, but it’s the Senate’s call!”
Meanwhile, another Harvard law professor, Laurence Tribe, has defended Pelosi.
"Senate rules requiring the House to 'immediately' present its articles of impeachment to the Senate clearly violate the constitutional clause in Article I giving each house the sole power to make its own rules," Tribe tweeted on Wednesday.
"It’s up to the House when and how to prosecute its case in the Senate," he added, just hours before House Democrats voted to approve the two articles of impeachment.
Before Wednesday's vote, Tribe penned a Washington Post op-ed calling on the House not to let Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., hold a "Potemkin trial."
"This option needs to be taken seriously now that Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has announced his intention to conduct not a real trial but a whitewash, letting the president and his legal team call the shots," Tribe wrote.
Tribe's op-ed added that the House didn't need a constitutional provision allowing it to withhold the articles from the Senate.
Pelosi, for her part, made clear earlier this week that she's concerned with how McConnell would arrange a trial in the GOP-led Senate.
"Let me tell you what I don't consider a fair trial," she told reporters. "This is what I don't consider a fair trial — that Leader McConnell has stated that he's not an impartial juror, that he's going to take his cues, in quotes, from the White House, and he is working in total coordination with the White House counsel's office."
But with the trial schedule thrown into doubt as Congress breaks for the holidays absent an agreement, Feldman's op-ed suggests that time is not on Pelosi's side.
"[I]f the House never sends the articles, then Trump could say with strong justification that he was never actually impeached. And that’s probably not the message Congressional Democrats are hoping to send," he wrote.
Fox News’ Sam Dorman and Gregg Re contributed to this report.
"The question you probably wanted to ask was to the speaker. Unfortunately, she would not take any questions when it came to impeachment," he said.
Pelosi, D-Calif., did briefly address impeachment during her session with reporters, in a bid to tamp down speculation over why she is holding off on transmitting the two articles of impeachment to the Senate for trial.
But as reporters continued to pepper her with questions on the subject, the speaker responded, "I said what I was going to say." She later asked if anyone had questions about other issues such as the "SALT tax," stating, "I'm not going to answer any more questions on this."
McCarthy minutes later torched Pelosi for shutting down impeachment-related questions.
"I would think if Nancy Pelosi thought impeachment was so important that she had to put this before the American public … the press conference the day after impeachment — that she has weekly — I thought she would have welcomed questions about impeachment," McCarthy said. "Unfortunately, she told you they were Republican talking points and she would not take your questions. I never thought a speaker would act that way."
McCarthy hypothesized why Pelosi did not want to address the issue.
"I guess, the only thing I could take from that is she’s embarrassed of it, she understands how weak it is, she understands her own criteria was not met, constitutionally it was not met, she probably failed on all parts," he said.
White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham also slammed Pelosi for her press conference.
Pelosi, though, did respond to speculation and criticism from Republicans that Democrats are playing games with the impeachment process.
"Frankly, I don't care what the Republicans say," she said.
Regarding the delay, Pelosi signaled the House will wait to learn more about the Senate trial process before naming so-called impeachment managers — who essentially serve as prosecutors in a trial. If that moves forward, Trump would be expected to win acquittal in the GOP-controlled Senate.
Trump was impeached on two articles alleging abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, related to his efforts over the summer to press Ukraine into investigating Democrats — all while U.S. aid money was withheld.
Fox News Flash top headlines for Dec. 19 are here. Check out what's clicking on Foxnews.com
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday defended her decision to hold off on sending impeachment articles to the Senate, calling Mitch McConnell a "rogue leader" in an unusual press conference where she repeatedly tried to shut down questions about the impeachment process.
Pelosi spoke to reporters after Democrats passed two articles of impeachment against President Trump in a Wednesday evening vote. She indicated the House would eventually send the articles over to the upper chamber, but insisted it is up to the Senate to determine how the process develops going forward.
“The next thing for us will be when we see the process that is set forth in the Senate, then we’ll know the number of managers that we may have to go forward, and who we would choose,” Pelosi said during a Thursday morning press conference.
After an impeachment in the House, the articles are normally sent over to the upper chamber for an impeachment trial, but Pelosi signaled earlier that the House is waiting for the Senate to set out how Trump's trial will be conducted before they determine their next steps, such as designating impeachment managers who will represent them.
Earlier Thursday morning, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Democrats may be “too afraid” to send the articles of impeachment to the Senate after the House speaker abruptly held off on transmitting them.
"Looks like the prosecutors are getting cold feet," the Senate GOP leader mused.
McConnell also criticized the impeachment in remarks on the Senate floor, calling it “a rushed and rigged inquiry.”
On Sunday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., had requested that the Senate issue subpoenas for documents and witnesses who had not testified during the House's impeachment inquiry. McConnell responded by stating that the House should have been more thorough, and it was not the Senate's role to do the House's "homework" for them.
Speaking on impeachment, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says House Democrats are conducting "most unfair impeachment inquiry in modern history."
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell set the stage Thursday for a potentially bruising fight between the leadership of the two chambers over impeachment, as he tore into Nancy Pelosi for “shoddy work” and said Democrats may be “too afraid” to send the articles to the Senate after the House speaker abruptly held off on transmitting them.
“This particular House of Representatives has let its partisan rage at this particular president create a toxic new precedent that will echo well into the future,” McConnell said on the floor, accusing Democrats of giving into "temptation" with their impeachment vote while challenging their handling of the articles in the aftermath.
McConnell’s remarks came the morning after House Democrats voted to impeach President Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress in relation to his July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
McConnell decried the effort, for which no Republicans voted, as “the most rushed, least thorough, and most unfair impeachment inquiry in modern history.” It taps into long-standing complaints by Republicans that the impeachment has trampled over minority rights in the House, and that Democrats were pursuing an outcome they have preordained before Trump was even sworn into office.
After an impeachment in the House, the articles are normally sent over to the upper chamber for an impeachment trial. Yet in the latest twist, Pelosi has indicated that she may not send over articles of impeachment yet — until she gets reassurances about the Senate process.
"We’ll make a decision… as we go along." Pelosi told reporters, adding that "we'll see what the process will be on the Senate side."
"We have acted," Pelosi continued, repeatedly refusing to commit to sending the articles of impeachment to the Senate. "Now, they'll understand what their responsibilities are, and we'll see what that is.”
Pelosi insisted that Republicans would need to run a fair trial if the matter made its way to the Senate, without explaining what exactly she was seeking.
While the move could be a way of trying to draw some concessions from McConnell, it may also be a play stop a potentially damaging Senate trial altogether, in which the Republican-dominated chamber could call witnesses such as former Vice President Joe Biden, his son Hunter, and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif.
It would also leave Trump with an awkward status quo in which he is impeached, but cannot claim exoneration in a Senate trial — in which he would be widely expected to win acquittal. However, it also risks dragging impeachment out deep into 2020, just as some polls indicate the public is souring on the process.
McConnell accused Pelosi of suggesting “that House Democrats may be too afraid to even transmit their shoddy work product to the Senate.”
McConnell is expected to meet with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., but any delay in the House could lead to McConnell refusing to meet with Schumer, giving the excuse that there are no articles for them yet to discuss since they have not been transmitted.
Trump, meanwhile, attacked the “do nothing Democrats” for wanting to “do nothing” with the impeachment articles.
“I got Impeached last night without one Republican vote being cast with the Do Nothing Dems on their continuation of the greatest Witch Hunt in American history,” he tweeted. “Now the Do Nothing Party want to Do Nothing with the Articles & not deliver them to the Senate, but it’s Senate’s call!”
“The Senate shall set the time and place of the trial.” If the Do Nothing Democrats decide, in their great wisdom, not to show up, they would lose by Default!” he added.
Fox News Flash top headlines for Dec. 18 are here. Check out what's clicking on Foxnews.com
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Democrats may wait to send their articles of impeachment against President Trump to the GOP-controlled Senate, for fear that they are incapable of holding a fair trial.
Pelosi held a press conference on Wednesday following the House impeachment vote and was asked what would qualify as a "fair trial."
"We'll make a decision as a group, as we always have, as we go along," she replied.
Pelosi was then asked about possibly withholding the articles of impeachment from the Senate until they get certain reassurances, and the Speaker refused to give a direct answer.
"Again, we'll decide what that dynamic is, but we hope that the resolution of that process will be soon in the Senate," she said.
Pelosi proceeded to read a statement from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., about impeachment procedure and used it as an example of what she considers to be an unfair process.
"Let me tell you what I don't consider a fair trial," she told the crowd of reporters. "This is what I don't consider a fair trial — that Leader McConnell has stated that he's not an impartial juror, that he's going to take his cues, in quotes, from the White House, and he is working in total coordination with the White House counsel's office."
She finally deferred to the Senate as the final arbiter of Trump's fate and accused the president of withholding vital documents from Congress.
"It's up to the senators to make their own decision working together, hopefully in recognition of their witnesses that the president withheld from us, their documents that the president withheld from us and we would hope that that information would be available in a trial to go to the next step. Because that's another level in terms of conviction, in terms of this," Pelosi said. "But right now the president is impeached."
The Speaker then repeatedly fended off questions about withholding the articles, before saying it would ultimately be a joint decision between the House and Senate.
"We will make our decision as to when we're going to send — when we see what they're doing on the Senate side, but that's a decision that we will make jointly," she said.
The impeachment vote total on the abuse-of-power count was 230–197, with Hawaii Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard voting present. The obstruction vote total was 229–198, with Gabbard also voting present on that count too.
House Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi delivers an opening statement to the House floor debate on two articles of impeachment against President Trump, calling the president an 'ongoing threat' to national security and the integrity of elections.
Pelosi, along with Democrat Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez from New York, Donna Shalala from Florida, Robin Kelly from Illinois and Suzanne Bonamici from Oregon all wore black outfits that resembled funeral attire. On top of Pelosi's black dress was a golden pin of the Mace of the Republic — a symbol of the House of Representatives' authority.
Speaking from the House floor on Wednesday, Pelosi declared that Trump violated the Constitution.
"That is why today as speaker of the House, I solemnly and sadly open the debate on the impeachment of the president of the United States," she said.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., speaks with reporters, Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2019, on Capitol Hill in Washington. President Donald Trump is on the cusp of being impeached by the House, with a historic debate set Wednesday on charges that he abused his power and obstructed Congress ahead of votes that will leave a defining mark on his tenure at the White House. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., holds hands with Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Mich., as they walk to the chamber where the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives begins a day of debate on the impeachments charges against President Donald Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2019. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
The apparent gesture came as House Democrats prepared to formally exercise one of their most contentious powers outlined in the Constitution. After a months-long impeachment inquiry, members of Congress debated two articles of impeachment on the House floor. While Democrats are expected to approve the impeachment articles along partisan lines, Republican senate leadership has already indicated it would reject any subsequent attempt to remove Trump from office.
Neither Pelosi's nor Ocasio-Cortez's offices immediately responded to Fox News' requests for comment.
Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Mich., confirmed to Fox News that members wore dark colors to mark the tone of impeachment.
“It was informal,” Dingell told Fox News of the coordination. “It’s a somber day.”
Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, D-Pa., wore a dark navy pants suit with pinstripes. “I actually was curious whether there was going to be a dress code, but not that I’m aware of,” she told Fox News. She said she chose a dark suit for the significant occasion. “It was not a day for partisan colors or celebration. So I think a lot of us felt like it was a day for sober attire," she said.
One of Pelosi's colleagues also told CNN that several female Democrats intentionally wore all black in order to gesture that the day of the impeachment vote was a somber one.
Coordinating outfits wouldn't be out of character for House Democrats.
Rep. Robin Kelly, D-Ill., speaks as the House of Representatives debates the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2019. (House Television via AP)
During Trump's State of the Union address in February, dozens of members wore white to support women's suffrage and protest the administration's alleged attempts to roll back progress for women.
Pelosi and other Democrats previously claimed they didn't enjoy impeaching the president — a claim that conservatives derided as ridiculous.
"Nancy Pelosi 'feels sad' about impeachment only because she knows this Democrat scam is a generous in-kind contribution to President Trump and every Republican running against a Democrat in a Trump district," the Fox News contributor tweeted. "Too bad she’s too weak to stand up to the angry liberals in her party."
Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) shares his reaction to the House Judiciary Committee issuing two articles of impeachment against President Trump for Abuse of Power and Obstruction of Congress. He also weighs in on the GOP's biggest takeaways from the impeachment inquiry.
President Trump, in a blistering letter Tuesday to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., lambasted the Democrats' impeachment inquiry, writing, "you have cheapened the importance of the very ugly word, impeachment!"
This is a developing story; check back for updates.
Judy Miller on the unexpected political impact of the proceedings.
President Trump on Sunday took a swipe at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., over her response to a reporter who asked why bribery wasn’t included in the newly unveiled articles of impeachment, despite Democrats – including the speaker herself – having leveled those charges repeatedly against the president throughout impeachment proceedings.
“You yourself accused [Trump] of bribery,” the reporter asked.
“Why did you decide not to make bribery one of the articles of impeachment?”
Pelosi said the decision not to include bribery in the articles of impeachment against Trump came after “working together with our committee chairs, our attorneys and the rest.”
In a retweet of Pelosi’s response, Trump wrote that the House speaker’s teeth “were falling out of her mouth, and she didn’t have time to think!”
He then followed up the tweet by writing that “Congressional Do Nothing Democrats are being absolutely decimated in their districts on the subject of the Impeachment Hoax.”
“Crazy Nancy is finding defending Shifty Schiff harder than she thought!” he tweeted, in reference to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., one of the most visible figures of the impeachment inquiry.
Democrats repeatedly have accused Trump of withholding military aid from Ukraine until it investigated former Vice President Joe Biden and his son. Trump and the White House have denied he did anything wrong.
“Bribery—and that is in the Constitution and attached to impeachment proceedings,” Pelosi said. “The bribe is to grant or withhold military assistance in return for a public statement of a fake investigation into the election—that’s bribery.”
President Trump points out Nancy Pelosi slipped up when she admitted democrats started impeachment two-years before the Ukraine phone call
President Trump called Speaker Nancy Pelosi a "liar" and accused Democrats of trivializing an impeachment process that should only be used "in an emergency," in his first comments after House Democrats advanced articles of impeachment against him.
"It's a scam. It's something that shouldn't be allowed," Trump said in the Oval Office Friday. "And it's a very bad thing for our country and you're trivializing impeachment. And I tell you what, someday there will be a Democrat president, and there will be a Republican House."
"And I suspect they're going to remember it," he said. "Because [that's what happens] when you use impeachment for absolutely nothing other than to try and get political gain."
Trump’s comments come shortly after the House Judiciary Committee approved two articles of impeachment against him for abuse of power and obstructing Congress in a party-line vote. The full House will vote as early as Wednesday on whether to impeach the president.
Democrats allege that Trump violated his oath of office by pressuring the president of Ukraine to interfere in the 2020 election when he requested investigations into his political rival Joe Biden and son, Hunter. Trump asked Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky for the investigations in a phone call on July 25 – as the White House put a hold on nearly $400 million in aid.
Trump insists the call was “perfect” and House Republicans have slammed Democrats for trying to overturn the results of the 2016 election for conduct that doesn’t warrant impeachment.
The House Rules Committee will meet on Tuesday to set up the terms of the impeachment floor debate likely for the following day. Pelosi needs 216 votes — assuming all members are present and voting — to impeach Trump. That would set up a trial in the Senate, where Trump is expected to be acquitted.
Long before the Ukraine controversy came to light, Pelosi said she wasn’t in favor of impeaching Trump because it would be too rancorous for the country.
“Impeachment is so divisive to the country that unless there’s something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan, I don’t think we should go down that path, because it divides the country,” Pelosi told The Washington Post Magazine in March. “And he’s just not worth it.”
But those remarks were in reference to allegations Trump colluded with Russia in the 2016 presidential race. Pelosi got on board with impeachment on the narrower issue of Ukraine.
Trump made his impeachment remarks during an Oval Office meeting with Paraguay President Mario Abdo Benítez, just as he was finishing up a trade deal with China.
Fox News Flash top headlines for Dec. 11 are here. Check out what's clicking on Foxnews.com
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D. N.Y., said Tuesday she plans to vote against a bill put forward by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that would allow the government to negotiate lower prices on prescription drugs.
Ocasio-Cortez and other liberal lawmakers have been urging Pelosi for months to make the bill more progressive and have threatened to delay the bill without the changes, including making negotiated drug prices available to those without insurance, Politico reported.
The Trump administration says forcing hospitals and insurance companies to disclose, up front, the full cost of all medical treatment will bring prices down by helping people shop for better deals; critics say studies show most Americans will skip or delay medical treatment if they know it's going to cost them a lot of money.
While the bill likely won't gain traction in the GOP-led Senate, it could serve as an opportunity for Democrats to advance a drug pricing plan as the administration advocated its own.
The Democrats' legislation would focus on allowing Medicare to negotiate lower prices on the most expensive drugs. The Congressional Budget Office estimated the plan would save the agency $345 billion over a decade.
But according to the White House, it would block 100 drugs from reaching the market by threatening a 95 percent excise tax on sales of drugs that don't abide by Health and Human Services' pricing. Pelosi's plan would presumably have a more wide-reaching impact in that it would make negotiated drug prices available to everyone — not just those with Medicare.
If progressives shoot down the legislation, it would likely feed the White House's narrative that progressives are thwarting the will of the leadership. "Is anyone surprised their socialist 2020 candidates want to drive their party even further left?" Republican National Committee (RNC) spokesman Michael Joyce told Fox News.
On Monday, Pelosi reportedly called the potential insurrection a "bad idea." She's currently leading her caucus in what appears to be a united front in impeaching President Trump. A progressive revolt could disrupt that unified image as Democrats head into the 2020 primary season. Leading candidates have promised bold reform like "Medicare-for-all," a prospect that could look even less likely if House Democrats are unable to compromise on drug pricing.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., an icon of the House's progressive wing, will likely oppose the legislation. “They stripped out everything that looked like progress,” spokesperson Corbin Trent said, according to The Intercept. Jayapal, in particular, has pushed for cost controls that would block price hikes beyond the rate of inflation.
Ocasio-Cortez previously clashed with leadership over a bipartisan bill funding immigration enforcement agencies during the migrant crisis. Pelosi has also indicated that the New York congresswoman wouldn't get leadership's support while pushing her signature Green New Deal. She's also said she's "not a big fan of Medicare-for-all," a policy favored by Jayapal, Warren, Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez.
Pelosi's office has described the bill — titled the "Lower Drug Costs Now Act" — as "bold action to level the playing field for American patients and taxpayers."
But according to the right-leaning Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), the plan would result in shortages and hurt new research and development.
"Exorbitant healthcare costs are a direct product of decades of increasing government interference in the marketplace," CEI research fellow Patrick Hedger said in a statement to Fox News. "Ratcheting-up this interference, particularly with simplistic price controls, has predictable and undesirable results.”
On Monday, House Republicans introduced an alternative for drug pricing — the "Lower Costs, More Cures Act" — that would limit annual out-of-pocket costs for Medicare beneficiaries, among other things.
Nancy Pelosi for Congress is selling "Don't Mess with Nancy" crewneck sweatshirts in an apparent attempt to fundraise off the media attention she received after Thursday's press briefing. The Speaker caused an uproar after she told a reporter not to "mess with" her, pushing back on a question about whether she hated the president.
"As a Catholic, I resent your using the word 'hate' in a sentence that addresses me. I don't hate anyone," she told Sinclair reporter James Rosen.
"I was raised in a way that is a heart full of love and always pray for the president. And I still pray for the president. And I pray for the president all the time, so don't mess with me when it comes to words like that."
Rosen, who previously worked for Fox News, denied accusing her of hating the president.
Their exchange was just the latest instance in which Pelosi appeared to try and tell off a reporter. She previously knocked Rosen in November, describing him as "Mr. Republican talking points" after he asked a question about Trump getting the right to confront his accuser in the Ukraine controversy.
The Speaker similarly tried to leverage a viral moment for her benefit. She previously made her Twitter cover photo that of one President Trump tweeted as evidence that she had an "unhinged meltdown" during a meeting in October.
Not everyone was fan of her viral moment. President Trump tweeted that Pelosi looked like she "just had a nervous fit."
"She says she 'prays for the President.' I don’t believe her, not even close. Help the homeless in your district, Nancy," he said shortly after Thursday's press briefing.
"Rosen asked best Q which exposed her," Fox News host Laura Ingraham tweeted. "This IS based on hate. Everyone knows it. Pelosi answer was basically 'we don’t hate anyone,' but then called Trump 'a coward.'"
But the Speaker won praise from "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert," which tweeted a video arguing that Trump would do better to call Pelosi "boss."
Ingraham also took issue with Pelosi calling herself a Catholic. The California congresswoman has described herself as a "devout practicing Catholic," identifying with what is perhaps the largest pro-life organization in the world.
But Pelosi has defended congressional funding for Planned Parenthood, the nation's largest abortion provider, and vowed to defend the landmark abortion legalization case Roe v. Wade with "every tool in our disposal."
Catholic clergy have repeatedly condemned both the act itself and pro-choice political advocacy. Vatican officials have reportedly said Pelosi should be denied the sacrament of Holy Communion. The Archbishop of San Francisco — where Pelosi's district is located — also reportedly said "no Catholic can dissent in good conscience" from the Church's position on abortion.
When then-President Bill Clinton was being impeached in 1998, she accused Republicans of impeaching with “vengeance” and being “paralyzed with hatred” of the Democratic president.
“Today the Republican majority is not judging the president with fairness, but impeaching him with a vengeance," then-House Minority Leader Pelosi declared in December 1998.
She continued, "In the investigation of the president, fundamental principles which Americans hold dear – fairness, privacy, checks and balances – have been seriously violated, and why? Because we are here today because the Republicans in the House are paralyzed with hatred of President Clinton. … Until the Republicans free themselves of that hatred, our country will suffer.”
On Thursday, she snapped at Sinclair’s James Rosen – a former Fox News correspondent – when he asked if she hates Trump. The sharp moment came at a press conference when Pelosi announced that the president’s conduct in relation to Ukraine “leaves us no choice but to act” and proceed with articles of impeachment.
"As a Catholic, I resent your using the word hate in a sentence that addresses me. I don't hate anyone. I was raised in a way that is a heart full of love and always pray for the president. And I still pray for the president. And I pray for the president all the time, so don't mess with me when it comes to words like that," Pelosi told Rosen.
The exchange, replete with Pelosi pointing her finger at Rosen, was quickly seized on by Republicans. Trump accused her of having a “nervous fit,” while his reelection campaign posted a mockup video of her shooting lightning out of her fingers in the style of Star Wars’ Emperor Palpatine.
Pelosi isn’t the only Democrat to have changed her tune on matters related to impeachment.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., who is now leading the impeachment proceedings after taking over from the House Intelligence Committee, has been asked by Pelosi to proceed with articles of impeachment.
But in 1998, Nadler warned that impeachment would “overturn the popular will of the voters” and urged lawmakers not to impeach unless there was bipartisan consensus and overwhelming popular support.
“The effect of impeachment is to overturn the popular will of the voters,” Nadler said on the House floor during the Clinton impeachment hearings. "We must not overturn an election and remove a president from office except to defend our system of government or constitutional liberties against a dire threat, and we must not do so without an overwhelming consensus of the American people.”
Fox New' David Montanaro and Sam Dorman contributed to this report.
SteynOnline.com's Mark Steyn reacts to Speaker Pelosi denying she hates President Trump.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sought to move on from questions about impeachment during a televised town hall Thursday night, even as she insisted she wasn't bothered at all by polls showing sagging support for the probe against President Trump.
Pelosi, who also claimed former President Bill Clinton was impeached only for "being stupid," made her comments at the CNN event just hours after she appeared at a fiery news conference to direct the House Judiciary Committee to begin drafting articles of impeachment against Trump.
"Can we not have any more questions about impeachment?" Pelosi asked at one point. "I don't mind questions, but to ask me questions through the prism of the White House is like, what?"
Moderator Jake Tapper noted that polls in swing districts show that moderate voters have begun to oppose impeachment, and asked whether Pelosi would regret the proceedings if they ultimately help Trump win re-election.
"This isn't about politics at all," Pelosi insisted. "This is about patriotism. It's not about partisanship. It's about honoring our oath of office. This is the first president that has committed all of these things as the constitutional experts said yesterday. Nobody has ever even come close. Not Richard Nixon even came close to his dishonoring his own oath of office."
"This is the first president that has committed all of these things … Nobody has ever even come close. Not Richard Nixon even came close to his dishonoring his own oath of office."
The Trump campaign highlighted internal polling on Thursday showing that moderate Democrats in districts won by the president in 2016 were turning against impeachment.
"Nancy Pelosi is marching members of her caucus off the plank and into the abyss," Trump 2020 Campaign manager Brad Parscale tweeted, alongside polling data. "Impeachment is killing her freshman members and polling proves it."
"Nancy Pelosi is marching members of her caucus off the plank and into the abyss. Impeachment is killing her freshman members and polling proves it."
— Brad Parscale, Trump 2020 Campaign manager
The House is now composed of 431 members, meaning 217 yeas are needed to impeach the president. There are currently 233 Democrats, meaning Democrats can lose only 16 of their own members and still impeach the president. 31 House Democrats represent districts Trump carried in 2016.
Sensing a possible opening, the Republican National Committee (RNC) has ramped up the pressure on these Democrats in pro-Trump districts. As reported by The Daily Caller, the RNC is running ads urging voters to pick a lawmaker who “won’t waste taxpayer $$$ on partisan impeachment.” And, Wall Street Journal Editorial Page Deputy Editor Dan Henninger told Fox News that some of these 31 Democrats are "really reluctant to take this vote," especially now.
Earlier in the day, Tapper pointed out that Rep. Jeff Van Drew, D-N.J., had broken with party leadership and announced his opposition to impeachment. That means opposition to impeachment is now bipartisan, even as no Republicans have supported impeachment — a blow to Pelosi, who has previously said impeachment would need to be bipartisan.
But, Pelosi made clear her mind had changed on that point.
"The facts are clear," she told Tapper at the town hall. "The Constitution is clear. The president violated the Constitution. And so I think it is important for us to proceed. If we were not to proceed, it would say to any president, any future president, whoever she or he may be, Democratic or Republican, that our democracy is gone, the president is king, he can do whatever he wants in violation of the law, ignoring the acts of Congress, undermining our system of checks and balances."
The speaker also elaborated on her outburst earlier in the day after a reporter asked her whether she "hates" the president. Pelosi, at the time, emphasized that she was a Catholic and does not hate anyone, although she said she felt Trump was a corrupt coward.
"The word 'to hate' a person, that just doesn't happen," Pelosi said at the town hall. "The word 'hate' is a terrible word. You might reserve it for vanilla ice cream for something like that, I'm a chocoholic, but not for a person. And so for him to say that was really disgusting to me. And of course he was quoting somebody else."
Pelosi further argued that Clinton was impeached for "being stupid," in response to Republican claims that Democrats were hypocritical on the issue. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., had blasted impeachment in 1998 as the "undoing of a national election" and argued that it should be reserved for extreme situations.
"Some of these same people are saying, 'Oh, this doesn't rise to impeachment,'" Pelosi said at one point in the CNN event. "Right there, impeaching Bill Clinton for being stupid in terms of something like that. I mean, I love him, I think he was a great president, but being stupid in terms of that, what would somebody do, not to embarrass their family, but in any event, so they did Bill Clinton, now they want me to do George Bush, I didn't want it to be a way of life in our country."
Clinton was impeached by the GOP-held House for perjury and obstruction of justice in December 1998, only to be acquitted by the Democrat-controlled Senate in February 1999. Clinton had been accused of making false statements in connection with a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by Paula Jones, a former Arkansas state employee, and had falsely denied under oath that he had "sexual relations" or been alone with a White House intern, Monica Lewinsky.
Amid the impeachment effort, lawmakers also have to deal with a looming government shutdown that could take effect Dec. 20 unless Congress passes spending legislation to avoid it. With just over two weeks to do so — and holidays coming soon after — impeachment could find itself on the House's back burner until the new year.
At the town hall, Pelosi said she didn't think "we're headed for a shutdown" this month, and floated the possibility of a continuing resolution to delay the issue.
"But I hope we don't have to do that," she said.
"I have to admit that today was quite historic," Pelosi added. "It was taking us across a threshold on this, that we just had no choice. I do hope that it would be remembered in a way that honors the vision of our founders, what they had in mind for establishing a democracy."
Fox News' Chad Pergram and Ronn Blitzer contributed to this report.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says President Trump has given her no choice but to authorize the drafting of articles of impeachment; chief congressional correspondent Mike Emanuel reports from Washington.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., suggested Thursday night that "the arts" will help unite the country as House Democrats pursue impeachment against President Trump.
During a televised town hall, Pelosi was asked how she planned on "unifying the nation" throughout the impeachment process and she began by stressing that the country "was divided" and how Trump had been "divisive" before House Democrats launched their inquiry last fall. She later added that despite existing divisions before he took office, Trump made them "much, much worse."
After touting the 275 "bipartisan bills" she said the House passed that were "waiting" on the desk of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Pelosi stressed that the country not only had to "heal" but also to "repair" itself.
"I myself think that one of the ways that America will heal is through the arts," Pelosi told the CNN town hall attendee. "I truly believe that's something where we find our common ground. You enjoy music together, you see a play or movie, you laugh, you cry, you're inspired, you laugh, you cry…"
She went on to paraphrase poet Percy Bysshe Shelley by saying, "the greatest force for moral good is imagination."
"Imagination, the creativity of it all, again, to share an experience in a way that puts aside your differences. Imagination, put yourself in another person's shoes," Pelosi continued. "I think that that plus a discussion, people talking to each other — we all have much more in common than divides us and we have to find that common ground."
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says Democrats are proceeding with their impeachment inquiry in a manner worthy of the Constitution.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has called for House Democrats to "proceed with articles of impeachment" against President Trump, but questions remain over whether she has secured enough Democrats to vote for impeachment as the effort barrels forward at breakneck speed.
Pelosi, during her televised remarks about impeachment on Thursday, did not suggest any particular timeline for a vote, saying only, "We will proceed in a manner worthy of our oath of office."
The timing of such a vote could be indicative of whether Pelosi has enough Democrats to vote to impeach: Pelosi is a master at reading her caucus. If she has the votes, she’ll likely give the green light to impeach on the floor. If she doesn’t have the votes, impeachment could wait — conceivably until the New Year.
A major milepost, though, could come at 5 p.m. Friday: Democrats have said the Trump administration has until the close of business to decide if it will cooperate with the investigation or try to defend the president. If the administration says it’s willing to play, then impeachment could stretch out a bit. If not, Democrats may operate under a compressed timeframe.
"This is a hard vote to make one way or the other," Rep. Jeff Van Drew, D-N.J., who opposed the inquiry before it began and remains skeptical of the impeachment efforts, told reporters Thursday.
A simple majority — 216 of 431 members — is needed to impeach. There are 233 Democrats, meaning that presuming anti-Trump independent Rep. Justin Amash backs impeachment, Democrats can lose 18 of their own and still impeach the president
A member of Pelosi’s leadership team told Fox News this week that the backlog of bills up this month in the House “works against” a December impeachment vote, explaining that impeachment “doesn’t fit the holiday spirit.”
Van Drew was one of just two Democrats who opposed the inquiry, alongside Minnesota's Collin Peterson, but Republicans are hoping that the 31 Democrats from districts that supported Trump in 2016 could be the key to defeating the impeachment effort.
Sensing a possible opening, the Republican National Committee (RNC) has ramped up the pressure on these Democrats in pro-Trump districts. As reported by The Daily Caller, the RNC is running ads urging voters to pick a lawmaker who “won’t waste taxpayer $$$ on partisan impeachment.”
Wall Street Journal Editorial Page Deputy Editor Dan Henninger told Fox News that some of these 31 Democrats are "really reluctant to take this vote," especially at this point in time.
"Do those Democrats really want a vote on virtually Christmas Eve?" he asked.
Henninger predicted that an impeachment trial could go into February. Not only could that slow down the momentum Democrats have built with the swift pace of the inquiry in recent weeks, it also places a burden on senators who will be in the thick of the presidential primary season. The Iowa caucuses are set for Feb. 3, with the New Hampshire primary Feb. 11, and contests in Nevada and South Carolina later that month.
While Democrats may use impeachment as an anti-Trump talking point on the campaign trail, candidates — including Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.; Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.; Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.; Cory Booker, D-N.J., and Michael Bennet, D-Col. — could end up spending valuable days of the primary season torn between their campaigns and a Senate trial should Trump actually be impeached.
An impeachment trial at that stage of the game would put the senators at a disadvantage, while candidates such as South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg, former Vice President Joe Biden and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg would be free to continue their efforts.
"This impeachment is beginning to overwhelm the real politics that the Democrats should be interested in," Henninger said, "which is trying to get themselves a presidential nominee."
On Thursday, Pelosi delivered a statement urging House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., to proceed with impeachment after a hearing a day earlier featured constitutional scholars presenting arguments for and against it.
“The president leaves us no choice but to act, because he is trying to corrupt, once again, the election for his own benefit," Pelosi said regarding Trump's request to have Ukraine announce an investigation of Biden and his son Hunter.
Amid the impeachment effort, lawmakers also have to deal with a looming government shutdown that could take effect Dec. 20 unless Congress passes spending legislation to avoid it. With just over two weeks to do so — and holidays coming soon after — impeachment could find itself on the House's back burner until the new year.
During a press conference in the hours following her impeachment announcement, Pelosi fielded a question about the timeline of the impeachment process, stating that "we feel comfortable with all of the time that has gone into this." She pointed out that it has been two and a half years since Robert Mueller was appointed as special counsel "and all that has transpired since then."
Following Pelosi's announcement, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., took Democrats to task for not putting pressing legislative matters ahead of impeachment.
"We've argued that American families deserve better than this partisan paralysis where Democrats literally obsess over impeachment and obstruct everything else," McConnell said on the Senate floor. "This very morning, for example, the Speaker gave a speech on national television to push forward her rushed and partisan impeachment. Not one word, not one word on the outstanding legislation the American people actually need. Nothing on USMCA or the NDAA or funding for our armed forces. It's all impeachment, all the time."
Pelosi responded to this during a news conference in the hours following her impeachment announcement by stating, "No, we have 275 bipartisan bills on your desk."
Senior House leadership sources have acknowledged to Fox News that they think it would be a challenge to have a proper debate and rush articles of impeachment through the Judiciary Committee and to the House floor before Christmas, while also working to avoid a shutdown. Pelosi indicated Thursday that the House has a number of bills on the agenda in the coming week, pointing to bills including legislation dealing with insider trading and voting rights.
That complexity could be increased by the need to carefully draft articles of impeachment that would draw enough support to pass in a vote by the full House of Representatives. A Capitol Hill source told Fox News that committee members were looking to Wednesday's testimony from law professors to formulate articles that would have the best chance of passing.
Republicans have united behind Trump against the impeachment efforts, meaning Democrats cannot afford to lose many votes from their own party.
Some Democrats, like Van Drew, remain skeptical of the effort. "Is this really an impeachable situation?" Van Drew asked in an interview with USA Today, noting the rarity of presidential impeachment in American history, and the fact that no president has ever been removed via that process.
"At the end of the day, nobody's ever been convicted," he said. "There's a reason for that. Our founding fathers had tremendous concern with the idea of impeachment. The idea of taking an elected leader regardless of how good or poor you think that elected leader is, out of office and disenfranchising hundreds of millions of voters does a lot that isn't so good for this country."