House Speaker Nancy Pelosi may be inching closer to impeaching President Trump a second time, calling his latest interference into the Justice Department an “abuse of power.”
Trump was previously impeached for abusing his office when, as Democrats claim, he used the office of the presidency to withhold foreign aid until Ukraine investigated a political rival.
Now, Pelosi is claiming Trump is up to this same “abuse” again.
“This is an abuse of power that the president is again trying to manipulate federal law enforcement to serve his political interest,” Pelosi said, per ABC News, after Trump tweeted the Justice Department should get involved with a case involving his former aide Roger Stone. “And the president is what he is. He thinks he’s above the law, he has no respect for the law, but where are the Republicans to speak out on this blatant violation of the rule of law?”
— Reuters (@Reuters) February 14, 2020
Speaking with a group of reporters, Pelosi said Attorney General William Barr’s compliance with Trump’s request has “deeply damaged” the integrity of the DOJ.
“This all must be investigated,” Pelosi continued, per the report. “What a sad disappointment to our country. The American people deserve better.”
“Well, it should be investigated,” she added. “Our committee, the Judiciary Committee, as you know, has invited and he has accepted the attorney general come before the Judiciary Committee, and that will be the end of March. I wish it were sooner, but he did accept the invitation so we don’t have to go another step there.”
Pelosi dismissed a question about potentially impeaching Barr, instead, directing her attention to Trump.
ABC News reports Pelosi said:
Our priority was to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. The president gave us no choice in his actions in violating the separation of powers that is contained in the Constitution, and that is our goal.
There is so much malfeasance on the part of people in the executive branch right now, but the fact is, our responsibility is to honor our oath of office to protect and defend. But we can point out the disrespect that the [attorney general] has for the rule of law, for lying to Congress, and that is really very bad. It’s not a good thing. It is lying to the American people. It is lying to the American people under oath. But our priorities are to do our job for the American people.
House Republicans have pushed back on accusations that Trump interfered with the Justice Department, claiming the decision was made independent of Trump’s tweets.
ABC News reports House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said “the president is not interfering because if you listen to the Department of Justice, they made the decision [to change the sentencing recommendation] before the tweet ever went out.”
“There’s no issue here,” he also said, claiming Democrats “do not have facts.”
“All they have is a mission to impeach and this is all they continue to drive when the rest of America would like to move on from their nightmares they put us through and let’s start working on issues that America cares most about,” he concluded. “You have the Department of Justice clarify saying they made the decision before any tweet went out. So you have no proof of any information.”