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Pelosi won’t rule out impeaching Trump to stop him filling SCOTUS seat

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) and Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) hold a press conference on Oct. 2, 2019 on the impeachment inquiry into President Trump. (Kirk McKoy/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
September 20, 2020

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has not ruled out launching an impeachment effort of either President Donald Trump or U.S. Attorney General William Barr as a means of delaying the senate from being able to act to fill a vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court, opened by the death Friday of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

In a Sunday interview, ABC’s George Stephanopoulos raised the possibility that Trump could lose his presidential reelection in November and still use the lame duck period before leaving office to fill the empty Supreme Court seat. Stephanopoulos asked Pelosi if she would then use impeachment as a delay tactic to stop Trump from appointing someone to fill the court vacancy, to which Pelosi replied, “We have our options, we have arrows in our quiver that I’m not about to discuss right now.”

Pelosi did not directly state whether impeachment was one of the options, though she did not rule it out either.

Asked again whether the Democrat-controlled U.S. House of Representatives would rule anything out, Pelosi said, “We have a responsibility, we take an oath to protect and defend the constitution of the United States. We have a responsibility to meet the needs of the American people. When we weigh the equities of protecting our democracy, requires us to use every arrow in our quiver.”

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It is not entirely clear what offense Pelosi or other members of the House of Representatives might allege to initiate an impeachment proceeding to delay Trump. In December of 2019, Democrats in the House of Representatives led an impeachment effort against Trump on allegations he pressured the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. The impeachment effort passed in the House but the Republican-controlled Senate voted to acquit Trump on the impeachment charges.

On Sunday, the Trump White House criticized Pelosi’s remarks.

“The Speaker threatened to impeach the President—again—for simply fulfilling his constitutional obligation,” White House Deputy Press Secretary Brian Morgenstern said in a comment to Fox News. “Numerous Democrats are threatening to pack the court and say things like ‘nothing is off the table.’ These are bizarre and dangerous power grabs by Democrats who will stop at nothing to erode the Constitution to enact their radical agenda.”

Morgenstern continued, saying, “President Trump will fulfill his constitutional duty to protect our God given rights and do his part to fill the seat.”