Transcript of Pelosi Interview on CNN's The Lead with Jake Tapper

June 29, 2020
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined Jake Tapper on CNN’s The Lead to discuss today’s House consideration of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Enhancement Act and other news of the day.  Below are the Speaker’s remarks:  

Jake Tapper.  The Washington Post is reporting that per intel assessments, Russian bounties did lead to U.S. servicemembers being killed.  CNN has not confirmed that Washington Post report.  Joining me now to discuss this and more, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Democrat from California.  Speaker Pelosi, thanks for joining us. 

Sources tell CNN that eight Republican Members of Congress were briefed today on this intelligence by the White House and Chief of Staff Meadows offered to brief a group of Democrats tomorrow.  Have you spoken with anybody at the White House about being briefed on this shocking intelligence? 

Speaker Pelosi.  Well, the shocking intelligence, it is and it would be my hope it isn't true, but it seems clear that the intelligence is real.  The question is whether the President was briefed.  If he was not briefed, why would he not be briefed, were they afraid to approach him on the subject of Russia, and were they concerned if they did tell him, that he would tell Putin.  So, there's a lot that remains out there. 

In terms of briefing Congress, I wrote to the DNI, the Director of National Intelligence and the head of the Central Intelligence Agency, the two of them, asking for full briefing to all of the Members of the House of Representatives.  That is what Members need and deserve. 

The fact that they might invite some folks over is fine.  I always encourage people to accept an invitation for briefing from the White House, but it is no substitute for what they owe the Congress of the United States. 

As an intelligence person myself for a generation in the Congress, I know that force protection is the first responsibility of Intelligence, to make sure when hostilities are initiated, we have the best possible protection for our troops.  And when they are engaged in a military action, that they are protected. 

So if – were the intelligence community, to say that the Russians may have initiated a bounty on our troops, I just hope it isn't true.  But whatever, the question remains: was the President briefed, and if he were briefed, then who briefed him?  We'd like to see those notes as well.

Jake Tapper.  So, the White House says that the President was not briefed.  The White House also said, Kayleigh McEnany, the Press Secretary, she seemed to suggest the reason he wasn't briefed is because this was not a consensus view of the U.S. intelligence community, that there were dissenting opinions. 

Sources tell CNN that U.S. intelligence leaders briefed top intelligence officials from the United Kingdom about this intelligence last week.  It sounds like you're not sure whether or not President Trump was actually briefed and you think it is possible that he's lying about that? 

Speaker Pelosi.  Well, I don't know.  I mean, the point is that if they had this intelligence – and by the way, the ‘high confidence,’ forget that.  In other words, if you have something of that threat to our troops, you pursue it.  You pursue it.  And as an intelligence person, again, the Intelligence Committee is frequently briefed on matters that are in the works, shall we say, that we will learn more about as more intelligence is available. 

So, if they had this, if they had this intelligence, they should have briefed the President.  Why didn't they?  Because they know it makes him very unhappy, and all roads for him lead to Putin, and would he tell Putin what they knew.  And now it is in the public domain, so Putin knows anyway. 

But for them to have – for the, our allies who are with us together in Afghanistan to be briefed on this and not the Congress of the United States or, as he says, the President of the United States, it is highly questionable. 

My first reaction when I heard is: my goodness, I hope this isn't true, that our troops are in further danger because of Putin.  It is dangerous enough in Afghanistan, I can tell you that, without Putin injecting his bounty into it.  

But if he did, the American people should know about it, and if he did, and the intelligence community had intelligence about it, they should have informed the President in a way that he would understand and that he would keep highly confidential.  Maybe they feared he would not.  

But that's why we have to see, if he were briefed, what the notes are of the briefer to the President, so they can't say, ‘Well, they told me this, and they didn't tell me that part of it.’ 

This is as serious as it gets.  Our men and women in uniform, they're willing to do so much for our country, but we cannot put them at a disadvantage.  When we know what the disadvantage may be, for three months, do nothing about it.  Did they consider sanctions?  Did they consider a diplomatic response to Putin?  That's part of the conversation as well. 

Let's just find out the facts, let's find out the truth and let's have our suspicions.  Because as I have said over and over, when it comes to President Trump, all roads lead to his friend Vladimir Putin. 

Jake Tapper.  I want to ask you also, the Trump Administration is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn,  completely, Obamacare, or the Affordable Care Act.  If the Supreme Court does that, what will Democrats do?  What will you do? 

Speaker Pelosi.  Well, my understanding on the timing of it is first of all, we're in the middle of a pandemic.  You would think that in the middle of a pandemic the President of the United States would uphold the law instead of going to overturn the law, which provides affordable care to so many millions in our country.  And at the same time, misrepresent, as is their want, misrepresent what they know.  They're saying that they – oh, yeah, they support the benefit of pre-existing condition being not an obstacle to coverage, but in fact they're going to court to overturn that condition and every other condition, advantage and benefit in the bill for America's working families. 

It is unfathomably cruel, as I've said, what they're doing on this score.  The timing, though, that I understand is they did their briefs end of last week.  We will counter with our brief shortly.  

But probably the Court will not take up the oral arguments until the fall, so by then what 127 – 126 days from now we'll have a Democratic Congress. 

But I would hope the Court would uphold stare decisis as they did this morning in the Louisiana case, that they would uphold the Affordable Care Act – the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. 

As a matter of fact, as we speak here on the Floor of the House today, we took up the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Enhancement Act, which will again lower the cost of prescription drugs as we promised in the campaign.  We passed it, H.R. 3 last year, it is now part of the legislation today.  

So, as we are enhancing the Affordable Care Act, the President is overturning it, at a time when we have over 125,000 Americans who have died from the pandemic, and the President is overturning one of their lifelines. 

Jake Tapper.  House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, thank you so much for your time today.  We appreciate it. 

Speaker Pelosi.  My pleasure.  Thank you.