Reprinted with permission from Alternet
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi addressed three of the popular arguments against the impeachment of President Donald Trump in a letter on Monday to her Democratic colleagues.
First, she addressed the claim, made frequently despite the damning evidence coming out of the impeachment hearings, that it’s pointless or somehow a subversion of the popular will to impeach a president within a year of an election.
“The weak response to these hearings has been, ‘Let the election decide,’” she said. “That dangerous position only adds to the urgency of our action, because the President is jeopardizing the integrity of the 2020 elections.”
Another defense of Trump, pushed most prominently by Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) during the impeachment hearings, is that his delay of aid to Ukraine at the center of investigation couldn’t have been a quid pro quo intended to induce the country into investigating the president’s political opponents, as Democrats claim, because the funds were eventually released.
“There are also some who say that no serious wrongdoing was committed, because the military assistance to Ukraine was eventually released,” she said. “The fact is, the aid was only released after the whistleblower exposed the truth of the President’s extortion and bribery, and the House launched a formal investigation.”
She also pointed out, notably: “The facts are uncontested: that the President abused his power for his own personal, political benefit, at the expense of our national security interests.”
This is an important point. For all the GOP theatrics around the impeachment inquiry, and for all the Republicans’ efforts to make the story about former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, they’ve done nothing to substantially discredit the central story at the heart of the scandal.
Pelosi’s letter even obliquely addressed an argument Trump himself had been fond of making: that Democrats aren’t doing anything for the country while pursuing impeachment. In a tweet on Monday morning, Trump said:
But Pelosi’s letter noted:
As we enter this pre-Thanksgiving week, we must extend the Continuing Resolution to keep government open and advance our legislative agenda to meet the needs of the American people.
Thank you to the many Members who participated in our Speaker’s Meeting on Jobs. The presentation of the challenges facing America’s working families and the solutions presented by Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman DeFazio and Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Pallone helped advance our infrastructure legislation. The discussion on USMCA was constructive and will continue this week.
At the same time we legislate, we continue to investigate and litigate, as the impeachment inquiry proceeds.
In fact, Pelosi has even faced some criticism from her allies, in particular for working on USMCA — Trump’s modified version of NAFTA — even while the administration works to obstruct the impeachment inquiry. Some would argue that as long as the president refuses to cooperate with the co-equal branch, Pelosi should refuse to work on the White House’s priorities. But the fact that the House is continuing this work undercuts Trump’s claims that impeachment is distracting the lawmakers.