Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney (R-WY) questioned on Wednesday why Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) would wait until only hours before the White House released a transcript of a potentially damning phone call to move forward with impeachment proceedings.
“When Speaker Pelosi went out yesterday and announced that there would be an impeachment inquiry of the president of the United States, at that moment, our president was up in New York at the [U.N.] general assembly,” Cheney told reporters during a press conference. “He was there having meetings, as president do during those sessions, bilateral meetings with other heads of state.”
“There was absolutely no justification to launch this impeachment inquiry at all, no reason she had to do it yesterday,” she continued. “One can only guess that she did it because she was intentionally trying to weaken the president, to weaken his hand as he’s dealing with crucial issues of national security with our allies and some of our adversaries.”
Pelosi announced on Tuesday afternoon that House Democrats would be moving forward with an impeachment inquiry after reports emerged that President Donald Trump urged Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden by withholding the country’s foreign aid.
The reports were not confirmed prior to Pelosi’s announcement, and the White House announced that it would be releasing a transcript of Trump’s exchange with Zelensky the following day.
“We’re now in a situation where not only have [Democrats] hurt national security, but they are fundamentally abdicating their constitutional responsibility,” Cheney said. “Impeachment is a very solemn, grave responsibility we all have and for this speaker to be going down this path, and for the Democratic caucus to be going down this path before they have seen any evidence at all, is something that I think is absolutely unprecedented in our history.”
The Wyoming congresswoman further criticized her Democratic colleagues for aggressively pursuing impeachment since Trump won the election in 2016, even prioritizing it over their sworn responsibility to work in the interest of the American people.
“We have watched now, ever since President Trump was elected, the House Democrats have been careening from impeachment theory to impeachment theory. They’ve careened from target to target for a while,” Cheney said. “Ten days or so ago they were focused on impeaching [Supreme Court Justice Brett] Kavanaugh. Now they’re back to focusing on President Trump.”
“What we see repeatedly is a complete lack of focus on [and] concern about evidence and facts,” she continued. “What Speaker Pelosi did yesterday really was the worst we’ve seen yet, where she announced an impeachment inquiry without any evidence, without seeing the transcript of the phone call at issue, without seeing any details from the supposed whistleblower.”
“When you think about what that does, both from the perspective of our constitutional obligation and from the perspective of our national security, it ought to give every American grave concerns that they are dealing with this in a way that is absolutely such a flagrant disregard of their constitutional responsibility,” Cheney added.