House Speaker Nancy Pelosi generated plenty of headlines and video coverage when she dramatically ripped up a written copy of President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address on Tuesday.
But, according to Rep. Matt Gaetz, she might have done something more.
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) February 6, 2020
“I will be filing charges against Nancy Pelosi in the House Ethics Committee,” Gaetz said Wednesday on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle.”
“She disgraced the House of Representatives, she embarrassed our country and she destroyed official records,” Gaetz said. “The law does not allow the speaker of the House to destroy the records of the House.
“And the rules of the House do not permit some little temper tantrum just because you don’t like what the president of the United States says.”
Gaetz put his complaint in writing, too. In a letter he posted to Twitter on Wednesday, he asked House Ethics Committee Chairman Rep. Theodore Deutch, a Florida Democrat, and ranking Republican member Rep. Kenny Marchant of Texas, to open an investigation into the speaker’s conduct.
He also requested “a criminal referral for her potential violation of 18 U.S.C. 2071 (Concealment, removal, or mutilation of documents) following President Trump’s recent State of the Union address … Her unseemly behavior certainly warrants censure.”
Her conduct was beneath the dignity of the House, and a potential violation of law (18 USC 2071).
Nobody is above the law. She must be held accountable. pic.twitter.com/dXPPWQNtI8
— Rep. Matt Gaetz (@RepMattGaetz) February 6, 2020
The letter quoted the part of the law stating that anyone who “willfully and unlawfully conceals, removes, mutilates, obliterates, falsifies or destroys” a government record — one that’s been “filed or deposited with any clerk or officer of any court of the United States, or in any public office, or with any judicial or public officer of the United States” — shall, under the law, “be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years or both; and shall forfeit his office and be disqualified from holding any office under the United States.”
“There is no question that Speaker Pelosi ‘mutilated, obliterated, or destroyed’ the copy of the President’s address provided to her at the beginning of the evening,” Gaetz wrote. “The video evidence is clear and abundant, and the Speaker herself told reporters that she tore up this document because it was the ‘courteous thing to do given the alternatives.’”
Given the fact that the ethics committee is controlled by Pelosi’s Democrats, it might seem unlikely that Gaetz will get it to agree to go along with his call to seek prosecution of Pelosi by the Department of Justice.
And as Ingraham pointed out, there are questions about whether Pelosi ripping up a copy of Trump’s speech would qualify as destroying a “formal record.”
“I heard murmurs that, ‘this is cute, but it’s not really going to work,’” she said.
But the action makes it clear that Pelosi’s made-for-TV moment isn’t going to be forgotten anytime soon on Capitol Hill.
Gaetz and Rep. Lee Zeldin, a New York Republican who joined Gaetz on “The Ingraham Angle,” compared the action to that of Republican Rep. Joe Wilson of South Carolina, who yelled “You lie!” during a 2009 speech by then-President Barack Obama to a joint session of Congress.
“The Democrats really brought the heat down on him when he said that Obama lied about illegals getting health care under Obamacare,” Gaetz said. “By the way, Joe Wilson was right. But we ought to apply the same standards to the Democrats that they want to apply to us and there will be an ethics investigation of Nancy Pelosi and we will start the ball rolling to have her censured.”
Zeldin went even further.
“From the inside out, Nancy Pelosi has been poisoned,” he said.
“She is now poisoning the House of Representatives and Congress and our country because they start off with her getting rolled by her far left, which has basically taken over the Democratic Party.”
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