Here’s a video of Nancy Pelosi talking impeachment with Jane Mayer earlier this month at the New Yorker Festival (sorry about the pre-roll commercial; I couldn’t find an ad-free version).[ETA: Replaced embedded video with THIS LINK to video since the original was autoplaying on some platforms. Attention, New Yorker: AUTOPLAY SUCKS!]
I’d missed this somehow, but it’s a wonderful account of the impeachment decision, and it contains details I hadn’t heard before about Pelosi’s phone call with Trump on the day she announced the decision to formally open an impeachment inquiry several weeks ago.
Trump was definitely trying to wheedle his way out of trouble over the whistleblower complaint when he called Pelosi. She says he called her ostensibly to discuss gun control legislation, then turned the conversation to his “perfect” call with Ukrainian President Zelensky. Pelosi understood immediately what Trump was trying to do, then told him “what we’re kind of observing here,” i.e., that Trump had violated his oath of office, undermined national security and jeopardized the integrity of U.S. elections. At that point, Trump complained that Pelosi was laying all of that on him right before he had to go do a speech at the U.N. General Assembly. So on brand!
Anyhoo, I thought it was a fascinating insight into the origins of the impeachment drama. Pelosi is under no illusions about what the Senate will do, but she says her job, should impeachment move forward, is to make an “iron clad” case so that the public can see the courage of the House in upholding its oath to protect and defend the Constitution and the cowardice of the Senate, which will almost certainly choose to prop up Trump instead.
As I mentioned in a comment to one of our weekend threads, I think Pelosi’s description of what she was saying to Trump when asked about the now-iconic photo of her confrontation with him at the White House — “all roads lead to Putin” — is significant. Notice that when House leaders commented on Trump’s cutting them out of advance notice of the al Baghdadi raid, they noted that Trump informed Russia before informing Congressional leaders.
Smart lady, our Madam Speaker. Open thread!