Nancy Pelosi seized on the opportunity to exploit Donald Trump’s latest controversial remarks about Joe Biden, citing the president’s flagrant solicitation of foreign assistance in an investigation of the vice president’s son in rebuking Kevin McCarthy on Thursday.
“I received your letter this morning shortly after the world witnessed President Trump on national television asking yet another foreign power to interfere in the upcoming 2020 elections”, Pelosi said, in a letter to McCarthy.
The House minority leader had asked Pelosi to suspend the impeachment probe, citing, hilariously, a lack of “transparency”.
“Unfortunately, you have given no clear indication as to how your impeachment inquiry will proceed – including whether key historical precedents or basic standards of due process will be observed”, McCarthy wrote to Pelosi, adding that “the swiftness and recklessness with which you have proceeded has already resulted in committee chairs attempting to limit minority participation in scheduled interviews, calling into question the integrity of such an inquiry”.
“Unfortunately” for McCarthy, “the swiftness and recklessness with which” Donald Trump “proceeds” gives the president’s critics all the ammunition they need – and then some.
Trump on Thursday said he may speak to China’s Xi Jinping about investigating Biden and his son Hunter’s business dealings in the country. You can watch the rather surreal video in the linked post above, but suffice to say the president was taking a huge risk by openly soliciting more foreign interference in the 2020 election at a time when a similar request made over a phone call to the president of Ukraine helped spark a formal impeachment inquiry.
Naturally, Pelosi pounced on Trump’s comically brazen behavior.
“As you know, our Founders were specifically intent on ensuring that foreign entities did not undermine the integrity of our elections”, she told McCarthy, pointing to the president’s Thursday comments.
The Speaker also insisted that no vote is necessary to begin an impeachment inquiry.
During the Mueller probe, Trump seemed to delight in publicly obstructing justice, almost as a kind of defense strategy. Can it properly be called a “conspiracy” if you do it in front of 50 million Twitter followers? Does firing an FBI director in order to stymie a probe into possible collusion count as obstruction if you tell Lester Holt that’s what you did in a prime time, nationally-televised interview? As we wrote in May, the obstruction question was impossible to answer not so much because of the ambiguity around whether a sitting president can be indicted, but rather because nobody knows, for sure, whether Trump is more conniving grifter (as Michael Cohen claims) or more senile D-lister who spells the word “hamburgers” with zero “u”s, two “e”s, and a “d” where the “g” should be.
But that strategy of rendering the public numb to criminality by simply going public with it and engaging in questionable behavior so often that it gets normalized in the minds of voters, doesn’t look like it’s going to work this time around.
“We hope you and other Republicans share our commitment to following the facts, upholding the Constitution, protecting our national security, and defending the integrity of our elections at such a serious moment in our nation’s history”, Pelosi went on to tell McCarthy on Thursday afternoon.
Sadly, Kevin does not appear to share any of those commitments, as evidenced by the fact that, when pressed by Scott Pelley on 60 Minutes last week, McCarthy accidentally admitted to not having carefully read the transcript of Trump’s call with Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky.