Facebook was a “willing” enabler of “the Russian interference in our election,” Nancy Pelosi says

The speaker of the House blasts Facebook’s decision to allow a deceptively-edited video of her to remain online

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published May 30, 2019 4:00PM (EDT)

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi  (Getty/Mandel Ngan)
US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Getty/Mandel Ngan)

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi told a northern California radio station Wednesday that Facebook's decision to allow a deceptively-edited video of her to remain on its platform means it has not learned a lesson from the 2016 elections.

"We have said all along, ‘Poor Facebook, they were unwittingly exploited by the Russians.’ I think wittingly, because right now they are putting up something that they know is false. I think it's wrong. I can take it . . . But [Facebook is] lying to the public," Pelosi told the radio station KQED.

The House speaker’s comments referred to a video, which was edited in an apparent attempt to make her look intoxicated. President Donald Trump retweeted it. It was later revealed the video had been distorted by far-right trolls in order to make her look bad.

Pelosi added, "I think they have proven — by not taking down something they know is false — that they were willing enablers of the Russian interference in our election."

Pelosi also spoke about her views on impeaching Trump, a prospect which was raised anew Wednesday after special counsel Robert Mueller made the first public comments about his nearly two-year investigation. He did not exonerate Trump.

"We'll go where the facts take us,” Pelosi told the radio station. “We have to have the facts, and we would like to have the facts presented in a way to the American people that makes it almost impossible for the Senate to exonerate.”

She added, "We have six great chairmen, who are getting results. We had three good court decisions last week about the president's violating the Constitution . . . We had the other decision by the Justice Department – that they would give us the documents requested by the Intelligence Committee. So we're making progress on gathering the facts that we need for an ironclad presentation."

Pelosi also speculated Trump was "of two minds" about being impeached.

"One is: that he doesn't want – nobody wants to be impeached, right? Nobody wants to get caught,” Pelosi explained. “And secondly: that he wants to be impeached, because then the Republicans, in their enabling of these crimes, will exonerate him. And he'll say, 'I've been exonerated. Why do we have to take this up in the courts?’”

Pelosi's view is not shared equally by all Democratic Party leaders. Three of the most prominent presidential candidates for 2020 — Sens. Cory Booker of New Jersey, Kamala Harris of California and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts — issued statements after Mueller's press conference calling for impeachment.

"Mueller’s statement makes clear what those who have read his report know: It is an impeachment referral, and it’s up to Congress to act. They should," Warren tweeted.

Booker expressed a similar view, tweeting "Robert Mueller’s statement makes it clear: Congress has a legal and moral obligation to begin impeachment proceedings immediately,."

Harris said, "What Robert Mueller basically did was return an impeachment referral. Now it is up to Congress to hold this president accountable. We need to start impeachment proceedings. It's our constitutional obligation."

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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