At a Thursday press conference, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) heartily defended the plans to imminently move forward with a Senate impeachment trial of ex-President Donald Trump. In a very real sense, the nation is still reeling from the violence at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, which then-President Trump helped incite and which led to his impeachment on a charge of incitement of insurrection. A National Guard deployment for D.C. was authorized through March — which isn’t even here yet. Military personnel were dispatched to the area at a staggering level in the aftermath of the rioting, when a mob of Trump supporters threatened the lives of members of Congress and others.
At a Thursday press conference, a reporter asked Pelosi what she would say to those who say “why bother” moving forward with the upcoming impeachment trial, and the House Speaker replied as follows:
‘I appreciate that question, because it seems to me that the answer is self-evident. Again, we’re here to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. The world witnessed the incitement that the president caused, to incite an insurrection against our government, against our Capitol, against members of Congress, with the use of force and violence, so — “Why bother”? “Why bother”? Ask our Founders, “Why bother?” Ask those who wrote the Constitution. Ask Abraham Lincoln. Ask anyone who cares about our democracy why we are bothering. You can not go forward until you have justice… Martin Luther King: Peace is not just the absence of dissension; it is the presence of justice. So we will honor the Constitution by establishing justice.’
Watch her comments below:
Pelosi: "We're here to support and defend the Constitution of the US. The world witnessed the incitement that POTUS caused … 'Why bother? Why bother?' Ask our founders why bother" pic.twitter.com/dT4XtSKClN
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) February 4, 2021
Senate Republicans have already joined in a show of opposition to the trial, so the 67 votes that are required for a conviction may be unlikely. Recently, a full 45 Republican Senators voted in favor of a resolution against moving forward with the trial at all, arguing that it’s unconstitutional to hold a trial of an ex-official who’s no longer in power. Only 5 Republican Senators voted to move forward with the trial.
In a recent case filing, House members who are handling the impeachment case noted that there is no “January exception” according to which officials can escape accountability for impeachable offenses if they happen to commit those offenses without enough time left in office to hold a trial in the Senate.
The brief by House impeachment managers, answering the claim that Trump can't be convicted because he left office: "There is no ‘January exception’ to the Constitution that allows a President to organize a coup or incite an armed insurrection in his final weeks in office."
— Steve Inskeep (@NPRinskeep) February 2, 2021