Nancy Pelosi; Donald Trump (Getty/Salon)

Nancy Pelosi blasts Trump's "growing pattern of obstruction" as "unconstitutional"

Pelosi slammed Trump's new messaging campaign following a rare day of bipartisan talks at the White House


Shira Tarlo
May 1, 2019 6:30PM (UTC)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., intensified her criticism of President Trump following a rare day of bipartisan talks at the White House by unveiling a new messaging campaign on Wednesday that accuses the president of disregarding the Constitution and "sabotaging checks [and] balances."

The new push, detailed in a memo titled, "TRUMP ADMINISTRATION OBSTRUCTION: UNPRECEDENTED, UNWARRANTED, UNCONSTITUTIONAL," was first obtained by Politico. It will reportedly be distributed to Democratic offices.

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In the document, Pelosi argues Trump's  efforts to block congressional oversight is "immoral, unethical, corrupt and unpatriotic." She also accuses the president of taking "extraordinary and unprecedented measures to conceal information about himself and to cover-up his Administration's dangerous and secretive activities from the public" as "part of a . . . growing pattern of obstruction."

"The president's disdain for rule of law and the Republicans' complicity in his abuses of power are doing lasting damage to American democracy," Pelosi wrote in the three-page packet.

The release of Pelosi's memo followed reports that special counsel Robert Mueller objected to Attorney General William Barr's description of his conclusions, after Barr appeared to clear Trump of obstructing justice.

Mueller, throughout his nearly two-year investigation into foreign election interference in the 2016 presidential election, found 10 cases of potential obstruction by the president but declined to reach a clear decision on whether Trump had obstructed justice. Barr, however, had announced weeks before the report's full release that he and his deputy, Rod Rosenstein, "disagreed with some of the special counsel's legal theories and felt that some of the episodes did not amount to obstruction as a matter of law," although they accepted Mueller's "legal framework."

Pelosi's memo, highlights some of the findings in Mueller's report and points to Trump's "attempts to cover it up" by "ordering White House and federal officials to defy Congressional subpoenas . . . and stonewalling Congressional inquiries."

This sharply heightened tone from comes a day after the speaker, along with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.. met with Trump and announced intentions to move forward with a $2 trillion infrastructure bill. The outcome of Tuesday's meeting was somewhat unexpected, given that Pelosi and Schumer's previous meeting with Trump last winter over border security collapsed in acrimony, and that Democrats are ramping up investigation of both the Trump administration and the president's business entities.

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Democrats on Capitol Hill have expressed frustration at the Trump administration's pledge to "fight all the subpoenas" from the legislative branch and to block congressional investigators from moving forward with their probes, increasing calls for the president's impeachment. Pelosi has previously told her party it is premature to do so and suggested that Trump is "not worth" trying to remove.

In her memo, Pelosi attempts to point out to voters that Trump's refusal to comply with requests from congressional investigators extends beyond matters related to interference in the 2016 election or allegations of obstruction of justice. She notes that Trump's obstruction "extends to Democrats' inquiries on issues that address the challenges facing American families, from the Administration's efforts to sabotage Americans' health care to its cruel family separation policy."

The memo says the Trump administration has "denied or delayed" the release of information or testimony regarding the following: the administration's decision to gut Obamacare in the courts; the separation of migrant children from their parents at the U.S-Mexico border; and allegations that Mar-a-Lago club members "asserted influence over" policy at the Veterans Affairs Department. It also demands that White House senior policy adviser Stephen Miller and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar testify before lawmakers about the administration's immigration policies.

"The president was elected to serve the people, not rule behind closed doors," Pelosi wrote. "Transparency is critical to a healthy democracy and every American should be alarmed by the president's behavior."

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Shira Tarlo

Contact Shira Tarlo at shira.tarlo@salon.com. Follow @shiratarlo.

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