WASHINGTON – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Friday called for a law to allow sitting presidents to be indicted for crimes, but Rep. Justin Amash says there is already a remedy provided by the Constitution: impeachment.
During an interview with NPR, Pelosi said, "I do think that we will have to pass some laws that will have clarity for future presidents. [A] president should be indicted, if he's committed a wrongdoing – any president. There is nothing any place that says the president should not be indicted.
"That's something cooked up by the president's lawyers. That's what that is," she continued. "But so that people will feel 'OK, well, if he — if he does something wrong, [he] should be able to be indicted.'"
Pelosi noted it is Justice Department protocol not to pursue charges for a sitting president. She said that should be changed.
"The Founders could never suspect that a president would be so abusive of the Constitution of the United States, that the separation of powers would be irrelevant to him and that he would continue, any president would continue, to withhold facts from the Congress, which are part of the constitutional right of inquiry," she reiterated.
Currently, according to the Constitution, punishment for breaking the law is impeachment under Article II, Section 4, stating that the president "shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors."
The Trump Admin is clearly violating federal statute by blocking the head of US Intelligence from providing Congress with a whistleblower complaint described as being of "urgent concern & credible.” The stonewalling must end. What is the President hiding? https://t.co/Yg0LqT5HMd— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) September 20, 2019
Amash, who was the only GOP member of Congress to come out in favor of impeaching Trump in light of the Mueller report before he left the party to become an independent, fired back at Pelosi, tweeting that there doesn’t need to be new legislation because the “Constitution already provides a remedy: It’s called impeachment. I’m available to serve as speaker if I can be of help.”
Congress doesn’t need this legislation to hold a president accountable, and it’s not even good policy to allow a sitting president to be indicted. Moreover, the Constitution already provides a remedy: It’s called impeachment. I’m available to serve as speaker if I can be of help. https://t.co/OIAT6XQUeh— Justin Amash (@justinamash) September 21, 2019
Pelosi has not shifted her position on impeachment, tamping down expectations by saying the American people must be persuaded with the strongest possible case by supporting the Judiciary Committee's investigation to determine whether or not to "recommend articles of impeachment."
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Pelosi calls for law to indict presidents, Amash cites impeachment