House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) took a swipe at President Donald Trump during an appearance on HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher” Friday, a day after the House officially transmitted two articles of impeachment to the Senate.
“[I]f the president is listening, I would want him to know that he is impeached forever. And he is impeached forever because he used the office of president to try to influence a foreign country for his personal and political benefit,” Pelosi said.
“In doing so, he undermined our national security. He was disloyal to his oath of office to protect the Constitution, and he placed in jeopardy the integrity of our election, and that, I mean, really he gave us no choice,” she continued.
Republicans have countered that neither article of impeachment references any violation of law, which, they say, is what the Constitution prescribes when it mentions “high crimes and misdemeanors” as grounds for removing a president from office.
Democrats content, though, that a Thursday finding by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) proves that impeachment was justified.
The GAO found that the president violated U.S. law when he temporarily withheld military aid from Ukraine last year. They also said that he did so in order to extract a pledge from the Ukrainian government to investigate possible corruption involving a political rival, leading 2020 Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden.
However, the Office of Management and Budget, which is responsible for disbursing foreign aid, disputed the GAO finding. The OMB found that the president’s temporary delay was not only lawful, but served to carry out the intent of Congress.
The OMB called it a “programmatic delay,” when the president withholds funds as he’s developing policies surrounding the funds.
“It was OMB’s understanding that a brief period was needed, prior to the funds expiring, to engage in a policy process regarding those funds,” the memo stated. “OMB took appropriate action, in light of a pending policy process, to ensure that funds were not obligated prematurely in a manner that could conflict with the President’s foreign policy.”
In a footnote, the OMB further stated that at times the Executive Branch has held up funding past the statutory deadline at the request of Congress.
“OMB is aware of instances in which Members of Congress demanded that agencies withhold funds for months— and even years—beyond the period required by statute for reasons wholly unrelated to the purpose of the appropriation,” the agency said.