House Speaker Nancy Pelosi claimed in a CNN interview Saturday that President Donald Trump was not actually acquitted of impeachment charges.
During a sit-down at the Munich Security Conference in Germany, Christiane Amanpour pressed Pelosi on whether House Democrats’ impeachment of Trump had backfired. The network’s chief international anchor noted that the president has seemed emboldened and is as popular as ever.
“What about, though, the fact that the president seems liberated, and this is about Democratic politics, so I’m not asking you to criticize here, but he was acquitted, his poll ratings are high …” Amanpour said.
Pelosi interrupted: “He was not [acquitted]. There was no [acquittal].”
“You can’t have an acquittal unless you have a trial, and you can’t have a trial unless you have witnesses and documents. So he can say he’s acquitted, and the headlines can say ‘acquitted.’ But he’s impeached forever, branded with that, and not vindicated,” Pelosi continued.
“And even the senators were saying, ‘Yes, it wasn’t right,’ but they didn’t have the courage to act upon that.”
Democrats began to make the case that Trump could not be truly acquitted shortly before he was in fact acquitted in the Senate impeachment trial on Feb. 5. The House impeachment managers claimed during their closing arguments that the president would be forever stigmatized because Republican senators had voted not to allow new witnesses and documents to be introduced during the trial.
The Democratic-led House of Representatives impeached Trump on Dec. 18, making him only the third president in history to have that mark on his legacy. But the lower chamber then waited until mid-January to send the articles of impeachment to the Senate for a trial on whether to remove him from office.
Trump was impeached in part for asking Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, to announce an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden, a Democratic candidate for president, and his son Hunter. Zelensky did not do so.
Nancy Pelosi defends her SOTU conduct to Christiane Amanpour
On CNN, Pelosi also defended her decision to rip up her copy of Trump’s State of the Union speech moments after his address ended last Tuesday — a move that was cheered by Democrats and condemned by Republicans.
Pelosi told Amanpour that it “wasn’t a planned thing.” But she said she decided to do something to “get attention” after realizing during the address that “almost every page had something in it that was objectionable.”
“One of my disappointments is the fact that with all that we have done legislatively, whether it’s equal pay for equal work, raising the minimum wage, gun violence protection, issues that relate to our children, the list goes on, we had very little press on it,” Pelosi said. “It seems if you want to get press, you have to get attention. I thought, well, let’s get attention on the fact that what he said here today was not true.”
Footage from the State of the Union appeared to show Pelosi practicing ripping up Trump’s written remarks shortly before she actually did so.