Transcript of Pelosi Weekly Press Conference Today
Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi held her weekly press conference today in the Capitol Visitor Center. Below are the Speaker’s remarks:
Speaker Pelosi. Good morning, good morning. How are you?
Did you have a good Thanksgiving?
Reporter. Are we going to have a good Christmas?
Speaker Pelosi. We will see. Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa. You know – holidays.
Our House Democrats came back from Thanksgiving having listened to our constituents and, again, working on our For The People agenda.
During the election of a year ago, we promised the For The People agenda, and part one of that was to lower the cost of health care for all Americans by lowering the cost of prescription drugs.
This week – next week we'll be bringing to the Floor H.R. 3. It is the most transformative legislation to affect Medicare since Medicare's founding. It helps all people though. It will – American seniors and families won't have to pay more for medicines.
As you know – or as you probably know, it gives the Secretary the authority to negotiate for lower drug prices. It does so in a way that also enables prices in America to be more commensurate with the cost of the drug, as reflected in what is paid for overseas. So, we can go into that If you have more questions about it, but we are excited about H.R. 3.
This week, we will have H.R. 4 on the Floor. H.R. 4 is the Voting Rights Advancement Act. Since the Shelby decision, twenty – the Supreme Court decision on voting rights – 23 states have enacted voter suppression laws that deny millions of Americans their voice, their vote. Nearly 55 years after the passage of the Voting Rights Act, we must protect the bedrock power of – the ability of people to have the right to vote. So, that will be on the Floor this week.
H.R. 3. H.R. 4. There is other legislation on the Floor. I hope that you observe it – one of it, to address the insider trading. That is coming up this week, as well.
And then, just to say, we have 275 bills – and, as I said to you: legislate, investigate, litigate. In our legislation, we have 275 bills that are bipartisan on Mitch McConnell's desk. The ‘Grim Reaper’ says all we're doing is impeachment. No, we have 275 bipartisan bills on your desk. Among them are background checks.
This week, as soon as we got back, we had a vigil – I have these; these are bullets, one from a survivor. Last night, we had a vigil, there were all this number of years since Newtown and every year we have this vigil. But, every day we pray that Mitch McConnell will pass that legislation because it will save lives. 25,000 people die – have died since we sent the bill over. Since we sent the bill over. Not all of them would have been saved, but many of them would have.
We have paycheck fairness for women – we have equal pay for equal work, paycheck fairness. Violence Against Women Act reauthorization. Issues that relate to raising the minimum wage, 30 plus million people will get increase in their pay if we raise the minimum wage, 23 million of them women. The Equality Act to discrimination against the LGBTQ community. [The Dream and] Promise Act, keeping our promise to our precious Dreamers. SAFE Act, saving our federal election system that they don't seem to be interested in doing. The list goes on and on.
And the Climate Action Now, H.R. 9 – that was legislation that we talked about last weekend when I took a delegation, there were fourteen of us, to Spain for the COP25. We were very well-received there. Our message was, ‘We're still in.’ Even though the President has opted out of Paris, the Paris Accord, but we are there saying in the House of Representatives, in statehouses, in governors' mansions, in city halls across the country, in the private sector and in the public sector, Americans are still in.
Our children know better than some of the leaders in Washington, D.C. the urgency of the climate crisis. It is a public health issue: clean air, clean water, food safety. It is a jobs issue, an economic issue: jobs, jobs, job, good-paying green jobs. Keep America number one, preeminent in the green technologies. It is a defense issue, because of the world is in peril from the climate crisis.
If you [were] there, you would have heard very dire comments. A recent U.N. report explaining how close to a real problem we are. I mean, the clock is ticking. As you know, we have a great deal of exuberance in our Caucus on this subject and we want to work together, under leadership of Kathy Castor our Chair of the Select Committee on Climate, as well as our other committees of jurisdiction.
The last point I'll make is that: if you do believe, as I, that this is God's creation, we have a moral responsibility to be good stewards of it. If you don't believe that it is God's creation, you must agree that we have a moral responsibility to pass it on to future – the planet on to future generations.
So, that is legislate.
Investigate. As I've mentioned this morning, we've heard from patriotic public servants, some of them appointed by President Trump, present the facts and they are just undeniable; the facts of the President's actions. I won’t go into it unless you ask. You heard yesterday, in the Judiciary Committee, the scholars present the Constitution and how the facts the Constitution give us no choice but to impeach – move forward with impeachment of the President.
And so I’ve arranged for the Chairs – we have six Chairs of all the committees to make recommendations about articles of impeachment.
Legislate, investigate, litigate.
We’re winning every court case, whether it’s Deutsche Bank for the President’s records, Mazars case for the President’s records – the list goes on, but they keep, they keep bumping it up to a higher court. Now some of it is approaching the Supreme Court level, and so we’re waiting to see if the Court will even take up something that is so in defiance of the precedence – precedent that says: yes, Congress has the right to subpoena and oversight over the Executive branch.
In that regard, I just want to say this to you my friends in the press: when you keep asking why don’t we wait for these court cases, the President’s actions in sending all these – taking these things to court and then bumping them up in court is an obstruction of justice. And so we’re not going to be accomplices to his obstruction of justice.
We have our constitutional responsibility. We have our facts, and we will act upon them.
And as the courts act – because we’re operating in the Congress and in the courts – and as the courts come forward with their decisions, whenever that may be, the President will have to be held accountable for that at that time.
Q: You’ve been hesitant for weeks to make the move and cautious to make this move to impeach. Was there an ‘aha’ moment for your personally, a piece of evidence or testimony that swayed you now to take this step?
Speaker Pelosi. Well, I’m glad you asked that question, because all I hear from the press is that I move so swiftly that it’s like a blur going by. This has been a couple of years – two and a half – since the initial investigation of the U.S. – of the Russian involvement in America’s election, which started much of this and led to other things.
But I do think the ‘aha’ moment for the country was the action taken by the President Trump appointee, the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community, who said that there was a credible report, from a whistleblower, of grave concern and that Congress should be aware of that.
And that is the facts of the Ukraine situation. It just changed everything. The polls went from 59 oppose impeachment, 34 in favor, to about even.
And let me just say this: this isn’t – we are saying the, Ukraine, the – Ukraine was the vehicle of the President’s action – asking another country to make an announcement that he was investigating the President’s political opponent and withholding military assistance that was voted by the Congress of the United States unless and until he did so – the President did so.
But this isn’t about Ukraine. It’s about Russia. Who benefited by our withholding – withholding of that military assistance? Russia, it’s about Russia. Russia invading eastern Ukraine. Over 10,000 people, now maybe 13,000, some of them in the absence of our conveying that military assistance that was voted in a bipartisan way by the Congress of the United States.
So sometimes people say, ‘Well I don’t know about Ukraine. I don’t know that much about Ukraine.’ Well, our adversary in this is Russia. All roads lead to Putin. Understand that.
And so that was the ‘aha’ moment where we had – see, in all the other cases we had the obstruction of justice, but we didn’t have as much information as to what he was obstructing justice, because the White House was withholding the information and not enabling us – that, even Richard Nixon enabled us to have the grand jury testimony.
Q: You mentioned those previous investigations. Do you want to see elements of the Mueller report or these other –
Speaker Pelosi. I’m not going to be talking about that. Okay. I’m not going to be talking about that. My chairmen will be making recommendations as to what the – our counsel, our lawyers, our chairs, the staff of the committees have been sensational, and we’ll look to them for their judgement about what the articles of impeachment. With all due respect to your question, I’m not here to talk about that, because that is what they will be working on.
And let me just say, in that regard, what was really remarkable, in the course of these weeks was people have heard us talk about this. They heard about the idea, this and that.
A few weeks ago, for two weeks, under leadership of Adam Schiff, of whom we’re extremely proud, we’re working with Adam Schiff and Eliot Engel and our beloved Elijah Cummings, whom we miss terribly, but is and continues to be an inspiration to us, but now Carolyn Maloney – the three committees of jurisdiction, Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Government Reform, had hearings bringing in, again, patriotic Americans, some appointed by the President, who presented the facts.
And then we had, yesterday, the hearing of the professors, the constitutional scholars. What was so valuable about that is, while we’ve all talked about it and while the Foreign Service Officers talked about it, when the professors talked about it, they taught about it. And they taught about the Constitution and what the vision was of our Founders and what the violations are of this President and what, and what that is all about. So, I think people had just a different grasp of why it is important for us to go forward.
Q: Madam Speaker –
Speaker Pelosi. Yes, sir?
Q: There are Democrats in districts that the President carried who were skeptical about moving forward in the impeachment inquiry, they later embraced moving forward. Are you concerned at all that some of them may face a backlash if they vote for articles of impeachment and that could ultimately hurt them in their races come next year?
Speaker Pelosi. But thank you for your question. This has absolutely nothing to do with politics. It isn't about politics, partisanship, Democrats and Republicans – that is totally insignificant.
It is about the Constitution of the United States, the Oath of Office we take to protect and defend the Constitution from all enemies, foreign and domestic. It is about the President not honoring his oath of office.
So no, I’m not concerned.
Q: Madam Speaker –
Speaker Pelosi. You go next. Okay?
Q: Madam Speaker, on a slightly different note, are you concerned about what this vote might do to the country and how did you weigh that as you came to this decision?
Speaker Pelosi. How this vote would – well, as I said this morning, I'm really sorry the President made this necessary by his complete disregard for the vision of our Founders, for his, for what he is doing.
‘Article II says I can do whatever I want.’ It was completely contrary to what our Founders had in mind.
So, all along I said for two years, this is an impeachment, it is not a pleasant experience, it can be divisive. We don't take any glee in this at all. It is heartbreaking. But the President gave us no choice. So, we're not going to say well we would honor our oath of office but…
He is the one who is dividing the country on this. We are honoring the Constitution of the United States.
And let me say this about our Founders – on the great Seal of the United States, it says ‘Novus ordo seclorum,’ a new order for the ages. They had so much confidence in what they were doing that they said that it was gonna last forever. For the ages. Because they had written a Constitution, the founding documents, thank God they made it amendable so that we could expand freedom over time and always will continue to.
But they predicated that on people honoring the Constitution of the United States. They could predict there would be a rogue president of the United States. They probably couldn't predict that there would be a rogue Senate leader who would just ignore the facts and the Constitution on all of this.
And so we have the responsibility to do that.
Q: Madam Speaker –
Speaker Pelosi. To strengthen the institution in which we serve. And, if we did not act on this, the message to any future president, Democratic, Republican, whoever he – she or he may be, would be: you can do whatever you want.
And if we do not act on this, we should amend the Constitution and remove impeachment, which was very important to our Founders.
Novus ordo seclorum. From many one. And I also – from many one, is my theme. That was new order for the ages. From many one is what I've always said about this.
As we go forward, we did this in a very deliberative, fair, strong way, recognizing our Founders gave us many calls to action. The times have found us, found them to establish a new country, fight for it and the rest, found us to protect and defend what they did by honoring our oath of office.
But it also said ‘E pluribus unum.’ From many one. So, we take that – heed of that too, to be uniting in what we are doing, in what we are doing, to be healing in what we are doing. Instead of having increased violation of what our Founders intended, and undermining our democracy. We see our mission as defending democracy For The People.
Q: In your remarks this morning you said that ‘we will proceed in a manner worthy of our oath of office.’
Speaker Pelosi. That’s right.
Q: Many have indicated this is one of the most important, serious things that the House of Representatives could undertake.
Speaker Pelosi. Absolutely. It’s historic.
Q: Right and you have not put a time table on doing this. It’s been announced that there’s gonna be another hearing on Monday.
Speaker Pelosi. Presentation of what we have in the Committees will be presented on Monday.
Q: Right, so, you know, is there any sort of concern about you said, ‘It is not a blur,’ but moving this before Christmas, moving this before the new year, anything on that maybe taking more time so that the public understands? There was one Member this morning, Debbie Dingle, who said, you know, she was meeting with a woman at a funeral and said ‘I don't understand all of this.’ Is it important maybe to slow this down, take more time, and proceed in a manner worthy of your office –
Speaker Pelosi. We are proceeding in a manner worthy of the Constitution.
We feel comfortable with all of the time that has gone into this, two and a half years since the appointment of Mueller and all that that has, that has transpired since then. I’m not, I have confidence, humility, again a heart full of love for America.
We are doing this in the right way and I'm very proud of our Chairmen who have taken that. If some people have some unease, we'll catch them up. And we haven't asked anybody for a vote, nor will we. People will make their own mind up, their own minds up about what this is about.
That was the last to go.
Q: Thank you very much.
Speaker Pelosi. Thank you.
Q: Do you hate the president, Madam Speaker? Speaker?
Speaker Pelosi. I don't hate anybody. I don’t – I was raised in a Catholic house, we don't hate anybody. Not anybody in the world. So don’t, don’t you accuse me of –
Q: I did not accuse you.
Speaker Pelosi. You did. You did.
Q: I asked a question.
Speaker Pelosi. You did.
Q: Representative Collins yesterday suggested that the Democrats are doing this simply because they don’t like the guy –
Speaker Pelosi. That has nothing to do with it. Let me just say this.
Q: I think it’s an important point.
Speaker Pelosi. I think the President is a coward when it comes to helping our kids who are afraid of gun violence. I think he is cruel when he doesn't deal with helping our Dreamers, of which we are very proud. I think he's in denial about the – about the climate crisis. However, that's about the election. This is about the election – take it up in the election.
This is about the Constitution of the United States and the facts that lead to the President's violation of his oath of office.
And 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 full of, a heart full of love and always pray for the President. And I still pray for the President. I pray for the President all the time.
So, don't mess with me when it comes to words like that.