House Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke at a CNN town hall Thursday evening, following a historic move declaring that the House will move forward with articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.
Pelosi touched on a number of topics at the town hall, moderated by CNN's Jake Tapper, namely Trump's impeachment, legislation in the House, and a pointed question from a reporter earlier that day.
In response to a question asking if she supported impeachment, Pelosi said she believed that “we should introduce articles of impeachment.”
Pelosi's feelings on impeachment have been deliberate since re-ascending to the speakership. She initially argued that the process of impeachment would be too divisive and could even backfire on Democrats in the 2020 election if not conducted properly.
Despite growing calls for Trump's impeachment following former special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation in April, Pelosi consistently pushed back at launching a formal impeachment inquiry until the whistleblower complaint was presented to Congress.
The House Speaker announced Thursday that the House would proceed with drafting articles of impeachment against Trump, but during the CNN town hall, she still managed not to get ahead of the process by saying she supported impeaching the president.
“This is a very sad day, I think, for our country,” Pelosi told CNN's Jake Tapper. “It's something that I would have hoped we could have avoided. But the President's actions made it necessary. You cannot violate the Constitution in full view.”
Pelosi noted that impeachment proceedings will reinforce that, unlike a king, the president's word is not law.
Rather, the House Speaker said she is compelled by the Constitution and maintains that it will hold Trump accountable for his conduct in the Ukraine scandal.
“If we were not to proceed, it would say to any president, any future president, whoever she or he may be, Democratic or Republican, that our democracy is gone, the President is king, he can do whatever he wants in violation of the law, ignoring the acts of Congress, undermining our system of checks and balances,” she said.
She also stated that she believes that acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney should testify before Congress in addition to former national security adviser John Bolton — citing constitutional checks and balances.
“They should be testifying because they have been asked to testify by Congress,” she said. “It isn't a deal. It's about a system of checks and balances.”
When asked on her thoughts on reports that Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani is in Kiev this week, Pelosi said she did not have “time” to keep track of him.
Giuliani has emerged as a key player in the impeachment inquiry, as reports shed light on the former New York mayor's dealings in Ukraine.
“I don't have time to keep track of Rudy Giuliani, I just don't,” Pelosi said. “But I do think it is further indication of the arrogance of it all, that every authority has said there is no truth to the rumor that the Ukrainians were instrumental in interfering in our election.”
The House Speaker said, even if the impeachment inquiry could help Trump win the 2020 election, she would not regret her decision to move forward with impeachment proceedings.
Pelosi said Trump is the first president that blatantly abused his political power, adding that “not Richard Nixon even came close to dishonoring his own oath of office.”
“This isn't about politics at all. This is about patriotism,” Pelosi said. “It's not about partisanship. It's about honoring our oath of office.”
She also made a dig at Republicans saying they “have taken an oath to Donald Trump.”
At one point of the town hall, Pelosi asked the audience if they could stop asking questions about impeachment.
“Can we not have any more questions about impeachment?” Pelosi said, and was met with laughs from the audience. “I don't mind questions, but to ask me questions through the prism of the White House is like, what?”
The House Speaker then went on to discuss policy, noting that the House has passed nearly 400 bills (“275 of them are bipartisan bills,” she noted) and sent them to the Senate. She also added that health care will be the main issue the electorate if faced with at the 2020 ballot box.