Nancy Pelosi: Public Understands Trump-Ukraine Allegations Better than Obstruction of Justice

US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi speaks during an event at the Atlantic Festival in Washington, DC on September 24, 2019. - The push among Democrats in the US Congress to impeach President Donald Trump for abuse of power is gaining momentum. Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic speaker of the …
ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images

Appearing Tuesday at The Atlantic’s annual ideas festival, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said President Donald Trump’s discussion of Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, in a phone call with Ukraine’s president, is “one is the most understandable by the public” in terms of impeachment offenses.

A partial transcript is as follows: 

THE ATLANTIC’S JEFFREY GOLDBERG: Is according to what we’re getting on the screen — there’s a little bit of what you might call now a breaking tweet from the president — who says that tomorrow they will release a transcript of the Zelensky call. So my question to you is, if you see that transcript and it’s more benign than we’re lead to believe, do you think that your caucus might stand down a little bit or do you think the caucus is at a boil right now?

HOUSE SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI: No, it’s not about. This is about the constitution of the United States. We have many other, shall we say, candidates for impeachable offenses in terms of the constitution, but this one is the most understandable by the public. It’s really important to know this: There is no requirement that there be a quid pro quo in the conversation.

If the president brings up, he wants them to investigate something of his political opponent, that is self-evident that it is not right. We don’t ask foreign governments to help us in our elections. That’s what we try to stop with Russia. It’s wrong. It’s not only about how to make decisions about our foreign policy and global security, it’s about undermining the integrity of our election.

I don’t think there’s a — I don’t know. I don’t think there’s a grasp on the part of this administration that the quid pro quo is not essential to an impeachable offense, but if you have sequencing, like a couple of days before the President withdrew the bipartisan support for Ukraine. Bipartisan enthusiastic support for Ukraine a few days earlier, he withdraws it, then makes this statement.

President’s words weigh tons. And just bringing up the election is bad enough. That there would be a quid pro quo isn’t necessarily in the conversation, but in the sequencing. So this is not a good thing for a democracy, for the leader of the free world to be talking like that, and I don’t even know if there are any scruples involved. That’s why I say they think lawlessness is a virtue and now want to export it to another country.

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