House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in an NPR interview on Friday that she believes current laws need to be changed so that a sitting president can be indicted. And in defending this bizarre position, she spouted two glaring lies — neither of which were fact-checked by NPR.
“Our founders could never suspect that a president would be so abusive of the Constitution of the United States that the separation of powers would be irrelevant to him and that he would continue — any president — would continue to withhold facts from the Congress, which are part of the constitutional right of inquiry,” she said, clearly referencing President Donald Trump.
“I do think that we will have to pass some laws that will have clarity for future presidents. President should be indicted if he’s committed of wrongdoing, any president.”
“While in office?” the interviewers asked in shock.
“Any president. There is nothing anyplace that says the president should not be indicted,” Pelosi replied.
“It’s the Justice Department interpretation,” the interviewers tried to point out.
“[That’s] something cooked up by the president’s lawyers — that’s what that is,” the House speaker replied before going off on a tangent about the president’s constitutionally guaranteed powers.
The Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel adopted the no-indictment position 45 years ago when Trump was just a 28-year-old kid working at his dad’s real estate company. Twenty-seven years later, then-President Bill Clinton’s administration reaffirmed the position.
As @waltshaub notes, DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel — in essence, the lawyers’ lawyers — has opined that it’s unconstitutional to indict a sitting president. OLC reached this conclusion twice — in 1973 and in 2000. Here’s the 2000 opinion: 2/https://t.co/SwBLJCbLOd
— Eric Columbus (@EricColumbus) January 26, 2018
During the NPR interview, Pelosi also commented on the “whistleblower scandal” non-scandal.
“I’m sure you’re aware of the reports of a whistleblower raising questions about actions the president took,” one of the interviewers said.
“His personal attorney Rudy Giuliani said he spoke to the government of Ukraine asking to investigate the Biden family. Just this morning, President Trump said, quote, ‘someone ought to look into Joe Biden,’ quote. Your reaction?”
The scandal is based on unsubstantiated allegations made by anonymous sources to The Washington Post, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal.
The allegations are that a whistleblower within the Trump administration filed a complaint accusing the president of making a “troubling” remark to some foreign official.
That leader has since been identified as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
“President Trump in a July phone call repeatedly pressured the president of Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden’s son … urging Volodymyr Zelensky about eight times to work with Rudy Giuliani on a probe that could hamper Mr. Trump’s potential 2020 opponent,” the Journal reported Friday.
These allegations are again based on the words of anonymous sources.
What’s known for certain is that a so-called “whistleblower” within the Trump administration did file some sort of complaint. However, it hasn’t been proven that the complaint involved Trump. Nor has it been demonstrated that the complaint is even remotely legitimate.
Nevertheless, both congressional Democrats and this election cycle’s crop of Democrat presidential candidates have responded to the unsubstantiated report by calling for the president’s impeachment.
? BizPac Review News ?
? 2020 Dems use new ‘scandal’ to gin up impeachment; Kamala appeals directly to whistleblower https://t.co/iqtFi2CRos
— ❌nuuzfeed (@nuuzfeed) September 21, 2019
Pelosi meanwhile responded to the interviewer’s question by calling the non-scandal “just another example of the lack of integrity, decency, and patriotism on the part of this administration.”
She then spouted another lie.
“[T]he law says the director of national intelligence shall – not should, not may, [or] we encourage – shall convey the whistleblower information to the intelligence committees in the Congress. And right now, they are breaking the law,” she said.
While it’s true that Joseph Maguire, the acting director of national intelligence, is indeed refusing to turn over information about the whistleblower complaint to congressional Democrats, he’s not doing so in violation of the law. The rule cited by Pelosi only pertains to “urgent concerns.”
“Under federal law, the D.N.I. ‘shall’ deliver an inspector general’s report about an ‘urgent concern’ to Congress within a week of receiving it,” The New York Times notes.
But in a statement to House Intelligence Committee chair Rep. “Little” Adam Schiff earlier this week, Office of the Director of National Intelligence counsel Jason Klitenic explained that the whistleblower complaint does not qualify as being of “urgent concern.”
“This complaint … concerned conduct by someone outside the Intelligence Community and did not relate to any ‘intelligence activity’ under the DNI’s supervision … the law did not require that the DNI forward the complaint to the Intelligence Committees,” he said.
Letter from ODNI General Counsel Jason Klitenic says the whistleblower complaint –
1) does not meet the definition of ‘urgent concern’;
2) concerned conduct by someone outside the IC;
3) did not relate to any ‘intelligence activity’ under DNI’s supervision pic.twitter.com/AIdjW88ZWd
— Olivia Gazis (@Olivia_Gazis) September 18, 2019
These are the facts, and for some inexplicable reason, nobody at NPR — which has previously been accused of perpetrating liberal bias — thought it prudent to challenge Pelosi’s false claim and educate her with the actual facts.
The whole interview may be heard below: