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Speaker Nancy Pelosi says Trump can’t be considered acquitted if Senate doesn’t call witnesses in impeachment trial

Speaker Nancy Pelosi says Trump can’t be considered acquitted if Senate doesn’t call witnesses in impeachment trial
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Friday that if the Senate votes not to convict President Donald Trump after a trial without witnesses, he can’t really be considered “acquitted.”
“I disagree with the idea that he could be acquitted” if the Senate finishes its proceedings on Friday, Pelosi said in a Deerfield Beach interview with the South Florida Sun Sentinel Editorial Board. “You can’t be acquitted if you don’t have a trial, and you can’t have a trial if you don’t have witnesses and you don’t have documents."
Even though he would remain in office "he is impeached — forever disgraced.”
Pelosi’s comments came before the Senate was to take up the question of whether to call witnesses.
Pelosi said if the decision about calling witnesses is tied with 50 votes in favor and 50 votes opposed, then Chief Justice John Roberts should be asked to break the tie. A presiding officer “usually has that responsibility,” Pelosi said.
The chief justice has more responsibility than just to “read questions” posed by senators. “Chief justice of the United States of America. That’s his title. Not chief justice of the Supreme Court, chief justice of the United States, of all the courts in America.”
If the Senate decides it has enough information to finish the proceedings, it could take a final vote on Trump’s fate later Friday.
“Let’s see what happens today, if the senators will choose loyalty to the Constitution, or loyalty to Donald Trump,” Pelosi said. “I don’t know how they answer to their children and grandchildren about what they did today. But the fact is, they’re supposed to be strengthening the institution in which they serve, instead of letting it melt away to a rogue president.”

Pelosi lambasted the argument made in the Senate by one of Trump’s attorneys, Alan Dershowitz, that the president can’t be impeached for an action that helps him get re-elected if he believes his own re-election is in the public interest.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says that President Donald Trump cannot be considered acquitted without witnesses. “You can’t be acquitted if you don’t have a trial, and you can’t have a trial if you don’t have witnesses and you don’t have documents," she said at a meeting with the South Florida Sun Sentinel Editorial Board on Friday in Deerfield Beach.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says that President Donald Trump cannot be considered acquitted without witnesses. “You can’t be acquitted if you don’t have a trial, and you can’t have a trial if you don’t have witnesses and you don’t have documents," she said at a meeting with the South Florida Sun Sentinel Editorial Board on Friday in Deerfield Beach. (Amy Beth Bennett / South Florida Sun Sentinel)
“What you heard the president’s lawyer say so undermined what is a democracy, our republic, [by suggesting the Constitution’s] Article II says I can do whatever I want. No, it doesn’t. That’s not what the Constitution is about." Pelosi said. "And to say in a proceeding in the Senate if a president thinks that his election is in the best interests of the country anything is justified ... I don’t know how they have any integrity or respect left.”

She said the framers of the Constitution believed that “nobody is above the law, not even the president of the United States.”
To ensure that a president is kept in check, the Constitution set up three separate, co-equal branches of government. “The founders always had in their mind that there could be a rogue president, and that’s why they put guardrails in the Constitution. And impeachment. But they probably didn’t figure we would have a rogue president and a rogue Mitch McConnell,” Pelosi said.

McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, is his party’s leader in the Senate, and has attempted to structure the trial proceedings so they end quickly — and with Trump remaining in office.
Most political analysts believe that even if the Senate ends up calling witnesses, the ultimate result will be that the Republican-controlled Senate won’t remove the Republican president.

Regardless of the outcome, Pelosi said, “we still have a responsibility to protect and defend the Constitution.” She said the House would continue to press in court for its right to conduct oversight and for subpoenas of the executive branch to be honored “or else we have a monarchy.”

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