OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made headlines again recently when she denied claims that she set the precedent for impeachment in the U.S. House of Representatives.
During an interview Thursday on MSNBC, the California Democrat responded to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s claim that he started an impeachment investigation into President Joe Biden without a full House vote because she had already established the precedent for such a move in 2019 when she started an investigation into President Donald Trump.
McCarthy told reporters that Pelosi, D-Calif., “changed the precedents for the House” while she was speaker, which is why he decided against putting the matter to a floor vote.
Without a vote from the entire House, Pelosi opened the first impeachment investigation into Trump in 2019. About two and a half months after she announced the formal investigation, House Democrats unveiled two articles of impeachment against him.
MSNBC host Willie Geist asked Pelosi: “And Speaker Pelosi, Speaker McCarthy made the argument the other day that ‘Well, Nancy Pelosi set this precedent. She waited a long time to have a vote on the first impeachment of Donald Trump.’ You did hold a vote, we should add, but he said you made the rules, and he’s just following them now by not holding this initial vote for an impeachment inquiry. What do you say to that?”
Pelosi immediately got worked up over the question, saying, “I say that that’s hogwash. I mean, it’s ridiculous. And I don’t know why the press keeps repeating it. The fact is, we said we were going to — I assigned committee chairs, six of them to develop the — the facts, because you have to act upon the facts. That’s a strange thing to say, maybe around here, but you have to act upon the facts.”
“They’ve had eight months of investigation come up with nothing and now they’re trying to say, ‘Well, we’re not going to have a vote because Nancy didn’t have a vote the first day.’ No, we had a vote, we were in preparation for a vote. But again, this is a big deal, an impeachment. You have to do it with care, and not on impulse. And until we had the case, ready that’s when we went forward,” Pelosi added.
She continued: “Now, they again had been investigating for months, coming up with nothing and now they’re going to say on the basis of nothing we’re not going to have a vote on how we go forward. Don’t blame it on me, take responsibility for what you were doing there, and don’t misrepresent the care that we took, the respect that we had for the institution to go forward in a way that really addresses the high crimes and misdemeanors of Donald Trump.”
On Tuesday, McCarthy said House committees “have uncovered serious and credible allegations into President Biden’s conduct. Taken together, these allegations paint a picture of a culture of corruption.”
In a brief statement, he said Republicans “are committed to getting the answers for the American public.”
When asked about it by a reporter, he responded: “Nancy Pelosi has changed the rules of the House. We’re just following through.”
When she was Speaker, she unilaterally declared that an impeachment inquiry into then-President Donald Trump would be launched, though later she ordered a vote on the matter, and it passed largely along party lines.
When pressed as to whether he thinks Biden has committed impeachable offenses, McCarthy replied: “All I said is an impeachment inquiry allows us to get answers.”
Investigators for the GOP-controlled House said that the committees plan to use powers granted by the formal inquiry to subpoena bank records for Joe and Hunter Biden.
“And if we can connect the dots and show the American people where the bribery allegations stand, what the money laundering says, vis-a-vis the bank records, that is a way to do that,” Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.), told CNN on Monday regarding the impeachment inquiry.
“If you could see what I have seen, and we can’t share the [suspicious bank activity] reports because that would be against the law, so we have to prove it via other means, the bank records, and other things,” she added.
“Everyone should know what actually happened, what kind of businesses were involved, how Joe Biden was involved, what kind of money that was involved in these schemes is astounding,” she added. “You would blush if you knew if you’d seen what I’ve seen.”