Pelosi Floor Speech in Support of Resolution to Appoint Impeachment Managers and Transmit Articles of Impeachment to Senate
Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi delivered remarks on the Floor of the House of Representatives in support of H.Res. 798, which appoints Chair Adam Schiff of California, Chair Jerry Nadler of New York, Chair Zoe Lofgren of California, Chair Hakeem Jeffries of New York, Congresswoman Val Demings of Florida, Congressman Jason Crow of Colorado and Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia of Texas as Impeachment Managers and sends two articles of impeachment to the Senate. Below are the Speaker’s remarks:
Speaker Pelosi. Thank you very much, Madam Speaker. I thank the gentleman for yielding and for his exceptional custodianship of the Constitution of the United States. For thirteen years, the top Democrat on the Constitution, [Civil Rights] and Civil Liberties Subcommittee of the Judiciary Committee, and thank you for your leadership in protecting and defending the Constitution, the oath that we take as Members of Congress.
As I enter into the conversation, I do want to thank the distinguished gentleman from Georgia for his apology for his ridiculous remarks about me and House Democrats. Thank you, we accept your apology, Mr. Collins.
Now I want to go to the purpose of why we are on the Floor today. My colleagues on both sides of the aisle, we are here today to cross a very important threshold in American history. On December 18th, the House of Representatives passed articles of impeachment of Donald Trump: articles of impeachment for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
By his own admission, the President stated that, yes, he had had that conversation with the President of Ukraine, but he didn't see anything wrong with it. Well, we don't agree with that assessment. And yes, it is a fact when someone is impeached, they are always impeached. It cannot be erased. So, I stand by that comment, although I know you don't like hearing it.
I stand by this American flag, picture of the American flag, as I did the day that we introduced the articles of impeachment onto the Floor, because every day, all over America, in classrooms as well as courtrooms and in this Congress of the United States when we meet, we pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands – and to the republic for which it stands.
That is what our nation is. That is the genius, the beautiful, exquisite genius of the Constitution: that we are a republic. That was a decision of our Founders, their vision. They didn't want a monarchy, they wanted a republic. And when Benjamin Franklin came out of Independence Hall and was asked, ‘What do we have, Mr. Franklin, a monarchy or a republic?’ He said, ‘A republic, if we can keep it.’
I often wondered why he said that, why that would be in doubt, but we see why it is in doubt right now, when the President of the United States has said, ‘Article II says I can do whatever I want.’ That's a monarchy. That is not a republic, that we pledge our allegiance to every single day.
And so here we are today with the articles of impeachment about to be transmitted to the United States Senate. I was thinking this morning and mentioned in the previous public event, the Midnight Ride of Paul Revere. ‘Listen, my children and you will hear of the midnight ride of Paul Revere.’ Well, listen, my children, you will hear about an assault on the Constitution of the United States undermining the republic for which our flag stands by the President of the United States.
The President of the United States, in using appropriated funds enacted in a bipartisan way by this Congress, funds that were meant to help the Ukraine fight the Russians. The President considered that his private ATM machine, I guess, and said he could say to the President, he could make – ‘Do me a favor.’ Do me a favor? Do you paint houses, too? What is this? Do me a favor.
So we have a situation that is very sad. Don't talk to me about my timing. For a long time, I resisted the calls from across the country for impeachment of the President for obvious violations of the Constitution that he had committed, but recognizing the divisiveness of impeachment, I held back. Frankly, I said this President isn't worth it. But, when when he acted the way he did in relationship to withholding funds from Ukraine in return for a benefit to him that was personal and political, he crossed a threshold.
He gave us no choice. He gave us no choice. The children – our Constitution is the vision of our Founders. They were so brave. They declared independence. They did it in a time frame ‘when in the course of human events it becomes necessary.’ They declared independence. They fought a war of independence and bravely succeeded. They wrote documents, our Founding documents, the Constitution. Thank God they made it amendable so that we could ever be expanding freedom in our country and that, my children, is what you pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic contained in that Constitution of the United States.
So we take that oath and when we become Members of Congress or other public office, we take an oath to protect and defend that Constitution of the United States. And the President of the United States takes an oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, an oath that he has blatantly violated – and for this reason, he was impeached by the House of Representatives.
And for this reason we thought it would be helpful to have not only the strong case for impeachment and removal that was put forth in this House, but to know that more was to come – and we didn't make it come because we said we are going to wait until after Christmas to send this over. They would like to have had us send it over on Christmas Eve, so they could dismiss it. Perhaps they don't realize that dismissal is cover-up, but that has been one of their trains of thought. Dismissal is cover-up.
I was so disappointed the other week, the other day – last Friday, I guess Thursday, when the Leader of the United States Senate, rather than strengthening the institution in which he serves, became subservient and said and signed on to a resolution that would dismiss charges. Dismiss. Dismissal is cover-up.
And so in the course of the time since we passed the resolution and not because of the time – we passed it on December 18th. On December 20th, new emails show that 91 minutes after Trump's phone call with Ukrainian President, a top Office of Management and Budget aide asked the Department of Defense to ‘hold off’ on sending military aid to Ukraine.
On December 29th, revelations emerged that – the OMB Director and Acting Chief of Staff Mulvaney's role in the delay of aid, the effort by lawyers in the Administration to justify the delay and the alarm, most importantly, the alarm that in the Administration that that delay caused within the Administration.
On January 2nd, newly unredacted Pentagon emails which the House subpoenaed and the President blocked, raised serious concerns by the Trump Administration officials about the legality of the President's hold on the aid to Ukraine.
On January 6th, former Trump National Security Advisor John Bolton said he would comply with the subpoena compelling his testimony. His lawyer stated he had new, relevant information.
On January 13th, reports emerged that the Russian government hacked the Ukrainian gas company Burisma as part of their ongoing effort to influence the U.S. election in support of Trump.
Yesterday, House Committees – Mr. Nadler, Mr. Schiff, Mr. Engel and Congresswoman Maloney, Madam Chair Maloney – released new evidence pursuant to a House subpoena from Lev Parnas, recently photographed with the Republican Leader, an associate of Rudy Giuliani that further proves that the President was a central player in the scheme to pressure Ukraine for his own benefit in the 2020 election. The Senate Leader and the President are afraid of more facts coming to light. That is why the Leader signed onto that dismissal resolution. A dismissal, again, is a cover-up.
The American people will fully understand the Senate's move to begin trial without witnesses and documents as a pure political cover-up. Whatever the outcome, the American people want a fair trial: fair to the President, fair to the American people. The American people deserve the truth. The Constitution requires a trial – a fair trial. The GOP Senate – the American people.
Let me make this briefer: the House is now moving forward the vote to transmit the articles and appoint Managers. As Speaker I was – I am proud to appoint outstanding American patriots to serve in the impeachment panel: Chairman Schiff, Chairman Nadler, Chairwoman Zoe Lofgren – this is her third impeachment as a staffer to a House Judiciary Committee member in the Nixon impeachment, as a member of the Judiciary Committee in the Clinton and now as a House Manager. Now our Chair – our Chair of our Caucus, Hakeem Jeffries, a serious, respected litigator. Val Demings, member of the police force of Orlando and for 27 years and for part of that time the first woman and African-American Police Chief of Orlando. She knows her way around the courtroom. Jason Crow from Colorado, an Army Ranger, served our country in the military in Iraq and Afghanistan and now in the Congress of the United States. He, too, a respected litigator. And Sylvia Garcia of Texas, a judge in a number of capacities in Texas and member of the Judiciary Committee.
We are very honored that you have taken the responsibility, all of you, to bring the articles of impeachment over to the United States Senate with a case for the Constitution – a case for the Constitution.
So, back to the children, back to the children. We don't want this President or any president to ever violate the Constitution. It is very, very important that we see that that Constitution as central to who we are as a country, our system of government, our Constitution – so valued, so respected, hopefully so honored by everyone who takes an oath of office to support and defend it.
We see the Russians now hacking in Ukraine, just came out yesterday or day before. It just reminds me that I think most Americans would think that voters in America should decide who our president is, not Vladimir Putin and Russia deciding who our president is. I'm very concerned that in all of this, whether it's withholding funds for the Ukrainians, Ukrainian government to fight the Russians, whether it's undermining our commitment to NATO, whether it's, again, making decisions about what happens in Syria vis-a-vis Turkey, favoring the Russians, but all roads lead to Russia. All roads lead to Putin. While some in the Administration may think that's okay, I don't.
But we do insist and wonder why this President and some in this Congress will not come to the defense of our electoral system by allowing that to happen, denying that it's happening, placing the blame elsewhere. This is as serious as it gets for any of us. Only the vote to declare war would be something more serious than this. We take it very seriously. It's not personal. It's not political. It's not partisan. It's patriotic.
So, again, I thank our distinguished Managers for their courage, their dedication for being willing to spend the time to do the job to honor the oath that we take and honor the pledge that our children take: ‘allegiance to the flag and to the republic for which it stands.’
With that, I urge a yes vote and yield back the balance of my time.