Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., pushed back Thursday on House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s statement that he opened an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden without a full House vote because she set the precedent for such a move in 2019 when she opened an inquiry into then-President Donald Trump.
McCarthy’s announcement Tuesday of the impeachment inquiry into Biden marked a flip-flop after he had said he wouldn’t open an inquiry without a House vote. His initial stance came as members of his caucus expressed reservations about moving forward with an inquiry.
On Tuesday, McCarthy said House Republicans would begin the impeachment inquiry to seek bank records and other documents from Biden and his son Hunter Biden, calling it a “logical next step” in the GOP-led investigations that have happening for months. He also told reporters that he chose not to bring the issue to a floor vote because Pelosi “changed the precedents for the House” during her time as speaker. “Nancy Pelosi on 9/24 changed the precedent of the House, and you don’t have to have a vote,” he said.
During Pelosi’s interview on “Morning Joe” on Thursday, co-anchor Willie Geist asked her about McCarthy’s argument that she had set a precedent and his claim that she had waited a long time before launching the inquiry.
Her answer: McCathy’s argument is “hogwash” because Democrats did hold a vote supporting Trump’s impeachment in a matter of weeks.
“I mean, it’s ridiculous,” Pelosi said. “And I don’t know why the press keeps repeating it. The fact is, we said we were going to — I assigned my committee chairs, six of them, to develop the facts, because you have to act upon the facts. That’s a strange thing to say maybe around here, but you have to act upon the facts.”
Pelosi criticized Republicans for conducting months-long investigations into Biden and his family that have not produced evidence of wrongdoing by the president or connections between him and Hunter Biden’s foreign business dealings.
“They’ve had eight months of investigation come up with nothing, and now they’re trying to say, ‘Well, we’re not going to have a vote because Nancy didn’t have a vote the first day,’” she said. “No, we had a vote. We were in preparation for a vote.”
She stressed that when it comes to impeachment, “you have to do it with care and not on impulse,” adding that House Democrats moved forward with impeaching Trump when they “had the case ready.”
“Now they again have been investigating for months, coming up with nothing,” Pelosi said. “And now they’re going to say on the basis of nothing, ‘We’re not going to have a vote on how we go forward.’”
“Don’t blame it on me,” she said. “Just take responsibility for what you were doing there, and don’t misrepresent the care that we took, the respect that we had for the institution to go forward in a way that really addressed the high crimes and misdemeanors of Donald Trump.”
McCarthy’s office and the Trump campaign did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Pelosi launched the first impeachment probe into Trump in 2019 without a full House vote; House Democrats unveiled two articles of impeachment against the then-president about two and a half months after she announced the formal impeachment inquiry.
They alleged Trump “corruptly solicited the government of Ukraine to publicly announce investigations” into the Bidens and fostered a conspiracy theory alleging Ukrainian interference in the 2016 election. Trump was impeached in December 2019 but was later acquitted in the Senate. The then-president denied wrongdoing and repeatedly called the inquiry a “witch hunt” by his political opponents.