House Speaker Nancy Pelosi: House To Pursue Articles Of Impeachment

21 hours ago

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This morning, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announced that the House Judiciary Committee will draft articles of impeachment against President Trump. She said the president's abuse of power warrants his removal from office.

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NANCY PELOSI: If we allow a president to be above the law, we do so surely at the peril of our republic.

MARTIN: Things are moving quickly. The Judiciary Committee will meet Monday to hear from congressional lawyers about the facts uncovered in the impeachment probe thus far. Joining us now in studio, NPR political reporter Tim Mak. Hi, Tim.

TIM MAK, BYLINE: Hey there.

MARTIN: So did the speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi - did she give any context to how she's come to this decision right now?

MAK: Yeah, she said that it's necessary to take the step that they've taken - hours and hours upon hours of public hearings, these closed depositions behind closed doors that have had transcripts that have now been released. And she says, ultimately, that when you put the facts together, they create a pattern which makes this inevitable. Listen to what she said.

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PELOSI: The facts are uncontested - the president abused his power for his own personal political benefit at the expense of our national security by withholding military aid and a crucial Oval Office meeting in exchange for an announcement of an investigation into his political rival.

MAK: Now, she says that this has nothing to do with politics. This has nothing to do with 2020. It has nothing to do with swing state Democrats or swing district Republicans - that this has to do with her obligations and the Congress' obligations to act against a president who has abused his power. That's her argument here.

MARTIN: So it was interesting. Some Republicans have accused the speaker and Democrats writ large of leading the impeachment because of some kind of personal animus against President Trump - the critique being, you didn't want him to be president in the first place, and so that's what this impeachment inquiry is really all about. And you kind of saw this in this press conference, didn't you?

MAK: Yeah, this came up at the press conference this morning. And she actually had concluded her press conference and was walking away and out of the room when a reporter asked her, do you hate the president? Here's what she responded.

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PELOSI: I don't hate anyone. I was raised in a way that is full - a heart full of love and always prayed for the president, and I still pray for the present; I pray for the president all the time. So don't mess with me when it comes to words like that.

MAK: So you could hear that - an attitude there that there were two versions of Nancy Pelosi today - one was this kind of spicier version, ready for confrontation; another one was a more somber tone, that she said that she was reluctant to come to this step, that there - that she recognized the historic nature of this moment and that she was prayerful about it.

MARTIN: So moving forward, I mean, what can we expect on Monday? And do we know what the articles of impeachment are even going to look like?

MAK: We've had some hints about what they may include, whether it's abuse of power and bribery or obstruction of Congress for not providing documents and witnesses to the investigation or even obstruction of justice as it relates to the leads that were found in the Mueller report.

MARTIN: The Mueller report - so that's interesting because - so this could be broader than just the Ukraine scandal.

MAK: There certainly is a debate among Democratic lawmakers as to whether to have a broader scope, to include the findings of the Mueller investigation or keep it more narrow. But we will have, for sure, on Monday, at least as scheduled, that the House Judiciary Committee will hear from congressional lawyers, from the House Intelligence and House Judiciary Committees - they will be going over the facts in this investigation and what they've uncovered.

MARTIN: All right, NPR's Tim Mak. Thank you, Tim.

MAK: Thanks a lot. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.