Pelosi spoke as the House Judiciary committee debated the charges.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday called the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump “very strong” even as he and Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee argued that they allege no specific crime, such as bribery, was committed.
“The articles are what they are. They’re very powerful. They’re very strong,” Pelosi said as the Judiciary Committee was debating the wording of the articles alleging abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
The debate came ahead of an expected final vote Thursday to send them to the House for final votes next week.
Asked why no specific crime such as bribery was included — a charge Pelosi herself has leveled against the president — she answered, “I, myself, am not a lawyer, although sometimes I act like one,” saying that she had left the matter up to the committee chairs and legal counsel.
“The president is wrong,” Pelosi said flatly, responding to his calling this “impeachment lite.”
“Nothing swift about it, but it is urgent,” Pelosi said, about the speed of the Democrats’ impeachment effort, saying six committees have been working on the impeachment investigation “for a long time.”
Democrats argue Trump poses a “clear and present danger” to American democracy because, unless he’s stopped, they say, he might try to “cheat” again in next November’s election.
Asked by ABC News Senior Congressional Correspondent Mary Bruce what message she had for moderate Democrats worried a vote for impeachment might hurt them politically, Pelosi said she would not try to persuade them — including ones elected in districts that voted for Trump in 2016.
“I have no message to them. We are not whipping this legislation,” she said, “nor do we ever whip something like this. People have to come to their own conclusions.”
“They’ve seen the facts as presented in the Intelligence Committee – they’ve seen the Constitution, they know it – they take an oath to protect and defend it. But they see the constitutional experts speak about it. They’ll make their own decisions. I don’t say anything to them,” she said.
“The facts are irrefutable,” she said. “The fact is we take an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy used his weekly press conference to rail against Democrats, saying they’ve been determined to impeach Trump since he took office.
He said if Republicans were in the majority, they would “not use our power simply for the sake of dislike of another individual.”
He added that the impeachment process has “weakened the office of the president” and the idea of democracy.
“I wish they would take one pause and think as an American, what does it do to the country?” he said.
On the upcoming Senate trial, McCarthy said he is not concerned.
“If it goes over to the Senate I don’t think it should have to last that long because there are no facts there to uphold impeachment,” he said.
“The articles they have, I don’t think stand on any merit,” he said.
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