House Republicans are asking Attorney General William Barr to weigh in on whether House Speaker Nancy Pelosi broke federal law when she tore President Trump’s State of the Union speech.
Two House GOP leaders officially reached out to Barr in a letter on Tuesday asking for an “advisory opinion” on whether any federal laws were violated by the California Democrat back in February when she infamously ripped her copy of Trump’s address as soon as he had finished speaking.
The letter, penned by Republican Policy Committee Chairman Gary Palmer, R-Ala., and Republican Study Committee Chairman Mike Johnson, R-La., asked Barr to determine if “Pelosi committed a criminal act by destroying an official copy of the State of the Union speech delivered to her” by the president.
When questioned at the time about her shocking and disrespectful action, Pelosi defended the spectacle, claiming it was “because it was the courteous thing to do considering the alternatives.”
“I tore it up. I was trying to find one page with truth on it. I couldn’t,” Pelosi declared at the time.
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) February 5, 2020
“The manifesto of mistruths presented in page after page of the address tonight should be a call to action for everyone who expects truth from the President and policies worthy of his office and the American people,” the Democrat leader had said in a statement in February.
In their letter to Barr, Palmer and Johnson questioned if Pelosi may have violated 18 U.S.C. § 2071 which refers to the destruction or mutilation of official federal records. Such activity is subject to removal from office and up to three years in prison.
“Nancy Pelosi’s famous tantrum on the House floor was more than disgraceful; she violated her responsibility to preserve official documents delivered to the House of Representatives,” Palmer said in a statement.
“We ask the Attorney General to review this scandalous outburst, not simply because it offended every American, but because it set a precedent for radical politicians to hijack state events for partisan performance art and possibly break the law with, thus far, no consequence,” the Alabama Republican added.
RPC Chairman @USRepGaryPalmer and @RepublicanStudy
Chairman @RepMikeJohnson have requested that AG Bill Barr determine whether @SpeakerPelosi violated the law in destroying an official copy of @realDonaldTrump‘s 2020 State of the Union address. @GOPLeader pic.twitter.com/oZ1MLBgcHc
— GOPpolicy (@GOPpolicy) September 3, 2020
Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill slammed the letter to Barr as it “embarrassingly” lists the wrong year of the State the Union, referring to the event as 2019 rather than 2020. He also referred to a PolitiFact check that dismissed claims that Pelosi violated the law.
“Her copy of the State of the Union address is not a government record or government property at all,” Douglas Cox, professor at City University of New York School of Law, told PolitiFact at the time. “It is personal property.”
Pelosi is currently embroiled in a controversy over her visit to a San Francisco hair salon this week where she was seen in security footage from the business without a mask and in apparent violation of COVID-19 restrictions.
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