US Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California, holds her weekly press briefing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on September 18, 2020.
Nicholas Kamm | AFP | Getty Images
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Sunday did not rule out impeaching President Donald Trump or Attorney General William Barr if the Senate tries to push through a Supreme Court nomination during a lame-duck session if Joe Biden wins the November election.
“We have our options. We have arrows in our quiver that I’m not about to discuss right now, but the fact is we have a big challenge in our country. This president has threatened to not even accept the results of the election,” Pelosi said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos.”
“So, right now, our main goal and I think Ruth Bader Ginsburg would want that to be, would be to protect the integrity of the election as we protect the American people from the coronavirus, and that’s — I have faith in the American people on this Sunday morning,” she said.
Only a day after Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death, Trump vowed on Saturday he would pick his nominee in the upcoming week, likely a woman, and said that his administration wants to move ahead with the nomination before the election.
There are several leading contenders on Trump’s short list. Judge Amy Coney Barrett of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago has emerged as a front-runner, sources tell NBC News.
As Republicans move ahead in efforts to push a nominee through the Senate Judiciary Committee and to a Senate vote before the year’s end, Democrats have pledged to fight the nomination by convincing four Republicans to defect. So far, two Senate Republicans — Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska — have opposed a vote on the nominee before the election.
When pressed by Stephanopoulos that she’s “not ruling anything out” regarding an impeachment inquiry, Pelosi responded that the Constitution requires Congress “to use every arrow in our quiver.”
“We have a responsibility,” Pelosi said. “We take an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. We have a responsibility to meet the needs of the American people.”
Pelosi also emphasized that Democrats would not shut down the government as leverage to slow the impending nomination.
“None of us has any interest in shutting down government, that has such a harmful and shameful impact on so many people in our country,” Pelosi said. “We’re not going to be shutting down government. I do hope, though, that the focus on health care and what it means in terms of the courts will have public opinion be of such magnitude that the Republicans will finally, finally address the coronavirus crisis.”