Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi began her remarks with a history lesson.
“Let us begin where our founders began in 1776,” she told reporters today at a press conference. “When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them with another. With those words, our founders courageously began our Declaration of Independence from an oppressive monarch, for among other grievances the king’s refusal to follow rightfully passed laws.”
Pelosi had convened the meeting to announce that House leaders will be drafting articles of impeachment against President Trump. “In the course of today’s events,” she explained, “it becomes necessary for us to address, among other grievances, the president’s failure to faithfully execute the law.”
Those grievances have direct parallels, she noted, to the original decision to create an impeachment process by the founding fathers:
When crafting the Constitution, the founders feared the return of a monarchy in America. And having just fought a war of independence, they specifically feared the prospect of a king-president corrupted by foreign influence.
During the constitutional convention, James Madison, the architect of the Constitution, warned that a president might betray his trust to foreign powers which might prove fatal to the republic. Another founder, Gouverneur Morris, that a president may be bribed by a greater interest to betray his trust. He emphasized that this magistrate is not the king. The people are the king…
Unless the Constitution contained an impeachment provision, one founder warned, a president might ‘spare no effort or means whatsoever’ to get himself re-elected. Similarly, George Mason insisted that a president who procured his appointment in his first instance through improper and corrupt acts might repeat his guilt and return to power.
Those kinds of improper and corrupt acts, Pelosi declared, have now been revealed to the American people through a House investigation into allegations that Donald Trump attempted to abuse his power and coerce foreign leaders into assisting him in his efforts to seek re-election.
“Over the past few weeks, through the Intelligence Committee working with the Foreign Affairs and Oversight Committees, the American people have heard the testimony of truly patriotic career public servants, distinguished diplomats and decorated war heroes—some of the president’s own appointees,” Pelosi said. “Yesterday, the Judiciary Committee, at the Judiciary Committee, the American people heard testimony from leading American constitutional scholars who illuminated without a doubt that the president’s actions are a profound violation of the public trust.”
Pelosi’s powerful address marked a turning point in the country’s history—and one more instance of feminist leadership in the fight to protect the nation’s democracy and hold the president accountable. Women have been the driving force in the unfolding impeachment process against the president: since Pelosi opened the impeachment probe, female lawmakers have persistently investigated allegations of wrongdoing, and women voters and public figures have consistently pledged their allegiance to them and spoken out in support of impeachment.
Women like Pelosi and her colleagues in the House have been compelled to action by the egregious misdeeds of the president, who has insisted—in theories echoed by members of his administration and his supporters in Congress—that he should be allowed to do as he wants with impunity.
“[Trump’s] wrongdoing strikes at the very heart of our constitution,” Pelosi explained. “Our democracy is what is at stake. The president leaves us no choice but to act because he is trying to corrupt, once again, the election for his own benefit.”