President Donald Trump on Monday attacked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as ‘crazy’ after she refused to rule out impeaching him in a gambit that could be used to stall a Supreme Court confirmation process.
Trump blasted the idea – which has some political risks and practical flaws – as he defended his infamous July 25, 2019 call with the president of Ukraine that was the subject of the Democratic impeachment effort as ‘perfect.’
‘@SenateGOP Crazy Nancy Pelosi wants to Impeach me if I fulfill my Constitutional Obligation to put forth a Nominee for the vacated seat on the United States Supreme Court. This would be a FIRST, even crazier than being Impeached for making a PERFECT phone call to Ukrainian Pres,’ Trump tweeted Monday morning.
The blast came hours after Pelosi refused to rule out impeachment as one of the ‘options’ Democrats could avail themselves of in an effort to try to stall a vote on the judicial vacancy.
Pelosi on Sunday refused to rule out pushing forward a privileged impeachment resolution that would have the effect of eating up Senate floor time and potentially stalling a Supreme Court nomination.
‘We have our options. We have arrows in our quiver that I’m not about to discuss right now but the fact is we have a big challenge in our country,’ she told ABC’s ‘This Week‘ when asked about the prospect.
‘This president has threatened to not even accept the results of the election,” Pelosi continued. “Our main goal would be to protect the integrity of the election as we protect the people from the coronavirus.”
Host George Stephanopoulos had asked the speaker about impeaching either Trump or Attorney General Bill Barr as part of a strategy to slow the nomination, with Senate Democrats holding little leverage to act on their own, and President Donald Trump saying he will nominate a successor to Ruth Bader Ginsburg this week following Ginsburg’s death Friday.
‘We have our options. We have arrows in our quiver that I’m not about to discuss right now but the fact is we have a big challenge in our country,’ said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who was asked if she might use impeachment as a tactic to slow a Supreme Court nomination
Pelosi said the vacancy would galvanize supporters, and told Americans: ‘You can vote, you can get out the vote.’
She repeated her veiled threat when Stephanopoulos asked her: ‘But to be clear, you’re not taking any arrows out of your quiver, you’re not ruling anything out?’
‘Good morning. Sunday morning,’ she responded, smiling. ‘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, protecting our democracy requires us to use every arrow in our quiver,’ Pelosi said.
But the tactic, even if employed, would have a limited ability to soak up floor time. Even if a Senate vote on articles of impeachment were to go forward at the appointed time under a fast track of 1pm each day, leaders could find a way to schedule confirmation hearings and do other background work in the mornings.
President Trump said Monday he is planning to move as soon as this week on a nominee to succeed Ginsburg – although his plans for quick action could be thwarted for a series of services and remembrances as the nation mourns Ginsburg and her 27 years of service on the court. This includes her body lying in repose for two days at the Supreme Court and burial at Arlington National Cemetery that is expected next week.
‘I think it’ll be on Friday or Saturday,’ Trump said of his announcement, speaking on ‘Fox & Friends.’
He continued: ‘And we want to pay respect. We, it looks like, it looks like we will have probably services on Thursday or Friday, as I understand it. I think in all due respect we should wait until the services are over for justice Ginsburg. And is so we’re looking probably at Friday or maybe Saturday.”
Pelosi’s remarks came just days after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell vowed on Friday to call a vote for whomever Trump nominated as her replacement.
The next day, protesters gathered outside McConnell’s home to demand he stop pushing forward with a new SCOTUS pick.
Fulfilling the Supreme Court seat left vacant by Ginsburg’s death before the fall election is as much about McConnell’s goal of securing a conservative majority on the court for decades to come as it is about confirming Trump’s upcoming nominee.
There’s no guarantee the Kentucky Republican will succeed, but he is about to move ahead with a jarring and politically risky strategy to try to bend his majority in the Senate. If it works, he will have ushered three justices to the court in four years, a historic feat.
She appeared less inclined to hint at her options when asked about another potential Democratic pressure point: threatening to expand the size of the court should they capture the Senate in November and Republicans push through a conservative successor to Ginsburg.
‘Well let’s just win the election. Let’s hope that the president will see the light,’ Pelosi said.
President Trump has said he will nominate a Supreme Court justice this week
Pelosi was asked about whether the House might impeach Trump or Attorney General Bill Barr, which would take up Senate floor time
In the Ukraine call to President Volodymr Zelensky that Trump defended as ‘perfect,’ he asked his counterpart about investigating rival Joe Biden.
‘The other thing, There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great,’ Trump aid. ‘Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it… It sounds horrible to me.
Pelosi began her remarks stressing the coronavirus and saying Trump planned to use the vacancy to undo the Affordable Care Act – as both parties use the vacancy to try to fire up their supporters.
‘She would want us to keep our eye on the ball of the 200,000 people who, probably this weekend would sadly reach that number,’ she said of Ginsburg and the growing coronavirus death count.
‘The president is rushing to make some kind of a decision because November 10 is when the oral arguments begin on the Affordable Care Act,’ she said.
‘He doesn’t want to crush the virus, he wants to crush the Affordable Care Act.’
According to a Congressional Research Service report from January 2020 amid Trump’s impeachment, after the House transmits an impeachment message and managers, ‘The time agreed upon in modern trials has been within a day or two of receipt of the House message.’
‘Impeachment Rule III provides that after the articles are presented by the House managers, the Senate will proceed to consider the articles at 1 o’clock the next day (unless the next day is a Sunday), or sooner if ordered by the Senate,’ it notes.