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  Nancy Pelosi CNN Town Hall  CNN  December 5, 2019 6:00pm-7:15pm PST

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>> i really appreciate it, thank you both very much. the cnn town hall with speaker nancy pelosi moderated by jake tapper starts right now. [ applause ] this is a cnn town hall event. good evening, i'm jake tapper. we are here with the speaker of the house of representatives, nancy pelosi. today speaker pelosi said the house of representatives will proceed with articles of impeachment against president trump. madam speaker, thank you so much for taking our questions on this somber and historic day. you just launched this process and will likely make president trump the third president in history to be impeached. we're potentially two weeks away from that moment. that move would put president
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trump on trial in the senate next month. senators would either vote to acquit or convict the president which would result from the president's removal from office. we want to ask you a lot of questions about the impeachment and this moment. our questioners live in the battleground states of virginia and pennsylvania as well as maryland and washington, d.c. you'll hear from them in one second. but i do want to start with a couple of questions of my own, if i can be so brave, and that is, you said this morning that president trump in your view abused his power and that in your view he violated the constitution. so do you believe that the president should be impeached? >> i believe that we should introduce articles of impeachment. this is a very sad day, i think, for our country. it's something that i would have hoped we could have avoided. but the president's actions made it necessary. you cannot violate the constitution in full view. the facts are clear.
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they were presented by the people who had access to the situation. the facts are clear. the constitution is clear. the president violated the constitution. and so i think it is important for us to proceed. if we were not to proceed, it would say to any president, any future president, whoever she or he may be, democratic or republican, that our democracy is gone, the president is king, he can do whatever he wants in violation of the law, ignoring the acts of congress, undermining our system of checks and balances. that is the genius of the constitution. so for me, you know, there are many other incidents that people interpreted as being impeachable. i think when it came to ukraine, in my view ukraine is all about russia, because withholding or granting military assistance to ukraine was all to the benefit of russia to hold up that aid. >> and there was something
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different about that because earlier this year you talked about how you thought when you were opposing impeachment, you said you thought the president was trying to goad the house into impeachment in order to rally his base. is there something different about this moment that makes you think he isn't do that? >> his goading is one thing. his challenge to us to honor our oath of office, we take an oath to protect and defend the constitution of the united states. the president's oath is to preserve, protect, and defend the constitution. he's not doing that. this is about our country. at the beginning of the revolution, in the dark days of the revolution, thomas payne said the times have found us. the times found them to declare a war of independence, to fight a war of independence, to start a country. the beauty of what they started were our founding documents. thank god they made the constitution amendable so we could expand freedom well beyond
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what they did then. but in that constitution, the genius of it all was the system of checks and balances. they did not want a monarch. they did not want a president king. that's what they fought the war against. the president sais the executiv branch. article two is the executive branch. the president said, article two says i can do whatever i want. so for me this is about honoring our oath of office, making sure the constitution is respected, and it's about that and how he has ignored the subpoenas of congress, the oversight of congress. something very strange there, that there hasn't been an intervention amongst some of his own people. >> and we'll get to those questions about the subjects he raised. there was an intense moment this morning when you spoke to reporters, a reporter asked you if you hated president trump, if that was the motivation for
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impeachment. you said i don't hate anybody and don't mess with me when it comes to word like that. >> was that a reporter? is that what reporters do? >> well, i'm not going to comment on that. it was a reporter from sinclair news. >> i was raised a catholic, my college classmate, rita meyer, we were raised, my dear husband paul, and my friend susan, we were raised in the catholic faith. the word to hate a person, that just doesn't happen. the word "hate" is a terrible word. you might reserve it for vanilla ice cream for something like that, i'm a chocoholic, but not for a person. and so for him to say that was really disgusting to me. and of course he was quoth somebody else. >> congressman collins on
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judiciary. >> i think it's a technique, a tactic that they use. i like to think that america is a country that is full of love. whatever we think, somebody might believe something different from us, that isn't a reason to dislike someone. it's a reason to disagree with somebody. our founders -- excuse me, i have a little cold -- our founders gave us guidance, they said e pleasureuribus unum, fro one. whatever our differences are, we try to resolve them in a way that unifies our country. that's what we're doing by this unfortunate necessity made necessary by the president's actions, in this impeachment, to try to do it in a way that makes
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us worthy of our oath of office as we honor the vows of our founders to unify our country. >> if you want some water. >> thank you. >> i want to ask you one last question and then we'll go to some of the audience members. president trump referred to that moment from your press conference as a nervous fit. and then he said, you said that you pray for the president, you've said that before. he said he doesn't believe that you pray for him, quote, not even close. >> i do. >> i want to give you a chance to respond. >> first of all, i hope we don't have too many questions -- >> that's the only tweet question. >> the president is a master at project. when he calls somebody else nervous, he's the nervous one. when he suspects somebody is not praying, he's the one not praying. die pr i do pray for him, he is the president of the united states and i hope god will open his
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heart to meet the needs of people in our country. today he's taking away food stamps, whether it's our dreamers, whether it's the children at our border that they were separating in cages from their families, please, god, open us heart to receive the goodness that it would take to share with these people. also, i pray for his health and for his safety and for his family. i do, all the time. but it doesn't bother me what he thinks about that. all the more reason to pray for him. >> i want to bring in our first questioner of the night, naya stewart, a democrat, a freshman at the university of maryland. >> go turks. how about last night? >> yeah, exactly. some argue that the 2020 election is a better process for removing the president from office. what made you decide to continue with impeachment proceedings despite it being so close to the election? >> well, it's a whole year and a couple of more months for the
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president to be in office. and i appreciate your question. here is the thing. one of the things that the president did was to undermine, jeopardize the integrity of our elections by asking a foreign power to intervene, you know what the ask was, to announce an investigation into his potential rival. and if he isn't stopped from doing that, he will continue. he invited, invited intervention, come on in. the intelligence community says they're completely certain that the russians disrupted our election in 2016, that they are 24/7 doing it all the time. and so when the president is saying, well, the ukrainians actually did it, you know, their conspiracy theory, and the rest,
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that has to be stopped. one of the president's grievances, his offences, that he is jeopardizing the integrity of our election and we could not continue to let him do that without holding him accountable for it. >> let me ask you a followup to naya's excellent question. >> thank you, naya. >> polls in some battleground states show that a slim majority oppose impeaching the president. if you wake up and exit polls show impeaching president trump helped him get reelected, would you have any regrets? >> no. this isn't about politics at all. this is about patriotism. it's not about partisanship. it's about honoring our oath of office. this is the first president that has committed all of these things as the constitutional experts said yesterday, nobody has ever even come close, not richard nixon even came close to
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his dishonoring his own oath of office. so no, politics is not even a consideration in this. this is about protect and defend the constitution. i truly believe, naya, i truly believe that the times have found us to save our democracy, defend our democracy for the people if we didn't, we would no longer -- on september 17th, 1787, was the day that the constitution was ratified, was adopted. when benjamin franklin came out on the steps of independence hall and they asked him, what do we have, mr. franklin? a monarchy or a republic? he said, a republic, if you can keep it. well, this is a challenge to that republic, because left to his own devices, this president is taking us away from a system
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of checks and balances. article 2, he says, says i can do whatever i want. that's not what the constitution says. and so for him to ignore the oversight and the questions of congress, for him to take money appropriated by the house and the senate in a bipartisan way for military assistance to ukraine which was a country under assault, is a country under assault from russia, then it was 11,000, probably 13,000 people now killed by russian aggression, and he's withholding the funds that could help them defend themselves. it's a wrong thing to do. but you don't -- but in the course of doing it, the president, again, has violated his oath. >> the next question is from a democrat from madison, illinois, a law student at gw.
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domilowa? >> what type of information must be uncovered to convince republicans to break party lines and vote to convict the president in the senate, and what type of information if not already uncovered does the public need for the 2020 election to become a referendum of president trump's guilt? >> thank you for your question. i don't know what it will take. the facts are pretty clear about what the president did and the constitution is very clear about how he has violated it. but i don't think that the 2020 election is going to ride on this. having nothing to do with a decision to go or not. the most important issue for the american people is health care. it still is. and so that's why we're so happy, news of the day for us today was we announced our hr 3 legislation to reduce the cost of prescription drugs. we'll have it on the floor next week.
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we're very proud of it. it's transformational in so many ways which i'll go into if you wish me to. i don't know. i'll tell you this. there are many court cases, and some reporters keep saying why don't you wait for the court cases. we have the court cases because the president is obstructing justice by appealing everything to the courts and then the courts have ruled in our favor overwhelmingly, appeal it to a higher court, and now some of those cases are up to the supreme court, and then we'll see how long they will take to respond. so some of that information, if the courts will see, again, first, second levels have come out in our favor, some of that information may be out by the time the senate takes up the case, if in fact we do impeach the president in the house of representatives, would be -- some of that information might be so -- i think it's very clear
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now. i think it's so overwhelming that to ignore it would be derelict in our own duty. i can't answer for the republicans. they have taken an oath to donald trump. >> so just to jump off of what domilowa asked, as you recall, no doubt, on the day you became speaker of the house in january of this year you were asked about impeachment and you said, it would, quote, have to be so clearly bipartisan in terms of acceptance of it. but as you just noted, there are no republicans in the house who support either the impeachment inquiry and it appears as though none of them are going to support impeachment itself. does this mean that you're failing to meet the standard that you set in january? >> no, i'm saying the republicans have failed to meet the standard of honoring their oath of office, to protect and defend the constitution of the united states. >> are you willing to impeach president trump even if there are no republican votes in the house in favor of it? >> i've asked for the writing of the articles of impeachment. >> okay.
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let's bring in dean cham, a senior at johns hopkins university, president of the student government. >> wow. i'm from baltimore, you know. >> speaker pelosi, you resisted calls for the impeachment of president trump president bush in 2006 and president trump after the mueller report earlier this year. what's different, why didn't you support impeachment in the past, and what is different now? >> thank you. thank you for bringing up the question about -- because when i became speaker the first time, there was overwhelming call for me to impeach president bush on the strength of the war in iraq which i vehemently opposed. and again -- again, i say "again," i said it other places, that was my wheelhouse, i was in intelligence, i was the ranking
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member on the intelligence committee even before i became part of the leadership, the gang of four. so i knew there were no nuclear weapons in iraq. it just wasn't there. they had to show the gang of four all the intelligence they had. the intelligence did not show that that was the case. so i knew it was a misrepresentation to the public. but having said that, it was a -- in my view, not a grounds for impeachment. they won the election, they made a representation. and to this day, people think, people think that it was the right thing to do. people think that iraq had something to do with 9/11. it's appalling what they did. but i said, if somebody wants to make a case, bring it forward, but they had impeached bill clinton for personal indiscretion and misrepresenting about it.
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impeached him. some of these same people are saying, oh, this doesn't rise to impeachment. right there, impeaching bill clinton for being stupid in terms of something like that. i mean, i love him, i think he was a great president, but being student in terms of that, what would somebody do, not to embarrass their family, but in any event, so they did bill clinton, now they want me to do george bush, i didn't want it to be a way of life in our country. as far as the mueller report, there was a good deal of academ academics, a thousand legal experts wrote a statement that said the mueller report, what's in there is an impeachable offense. it wasn't -- so much of what's in the mueller report will be more clear once some of the court cases are resolved. but it wasn't so clear to the public.
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the ukraine has removed all doubt. it was self-evident that the president undermined our national security, jeopardized the integrity of our elections, as he violated his oath of office. there's just -- that's something that cannot be ignored. >> jumping off dean's question, you made this morning, madam speaker, that your chairmen will make recommendations on what the articles of impeachment should be. so if the judiciary committee chairman, gerald nadler, recommends that the articles of impeachment include obstruction of justice charges from the mueller report, will you go forward with that? >> we're operating collectively. it's not going to be somebody puts something on the table. we have our own, shall we say, communication with each other. >> okay. >> i'm not going to answer --
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with all due respect, i'm not going to answer one charge. we're not writing the articles of impeachment here tonight. >> all right. stay right there. we'll be right back with more questions for the speaker of the house on this historic, somber day, nancy pelosi, after this quick break. stay with us. [ applause ] a lot of folks ask me why their dishwasher doesn't get everything clean. i tell them, it may be your detergent... that's why more dishwasher brands recommend cascade platinum. it's specially-designed with the soaking, scrubbing and rinsing built right in.
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[ applause ] welcome back. we are live in washington, d.c. for town hall with speaker of the house nancy pelosi on this historic day. speaker pelosi, i want to ask you a quick question because the president's personal attorney rudy giuliani traveled overseas this week including to ukraine to continue investigating these unfounded allegations about the bidens. in a tweet just hours ago giuliani said until this matter is resolved, it, quote, will be a major obstacle to the u.s. assisting ukraine with its anticorruption reforms, unquote. he vowed to release his findings very soon. what do you make of giuliani's efforts in ukraine, continued efforts? >> i have -- i'm a busy person.
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today we prepared our voting rights act that we're going to bring to the floor tomorrow, we're very excited about it. we announced our hr 3, our lowering prescription drugs, voting rights act, hr 4. we're working on our u.s./mexico/canada trade agreement. i don't have time to keep track of rudy giuliani, i just don't. die think it is further indication of the arrogance of it all, that every authority has said there is no truth to the rumor that the ukrainians were instrumental in interfering in our election. putin makes a joke of it. he says, oh, they're blaming it on ukraine, they took it off of me. but all roads lead to putin. this is about putin, right from putin, in russia, in moscow,
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putin's desk, the disruption of our elections but not only ours. they want to undermine democracy all around the world. in africa, in europe, in the united states, to undermine democracy. they have a program to say, why would you even vote, no one even cares about you. this is their social media activity. and so to -- it's in their interest to undermine democracy. so in my view, if that's what he's doing, i don't know what he's doing, but if that's what you say he's doing, to charge ukraine with interfering in our election, which has been completely debunked, them i think he is, again, playing right to putin's success. >> let's bring in lara catmander from ardmore where i used to scoop ice cream in pennsylvania, a communications strategist in haverford township.
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>> thank you, and thank you, speaker pelosi. if donald trump is reelected and continues to behave corruptly with disregard for human dignity and the law what recourse will the house have since the impeachment process will already have taken place, what will the checks be on the president if he is reelected? >> that's not even contemplate that, because really, the damage that this administration has done to america, whether we can withstand two terms, i don't know. we all pray that god will bless america. and what is america? america is our constitution with our system of checks and balances and our bill of rights, spelling out freedoms, freedom of the press, et cetera. that is america. what is america? the people. unless you are blessed to be born a native american, it's a
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blessing to you and all you love you and our country, we are a nation of immigrants. he denigrates that, dishonors the constitution, degrades our environment almost every day, the air children breathe, the water, all of it, in denial about the climate crisis and the rest. and what is america? it's a great, beautiful play from sea to shining sea, which he degrades. and what is america? our values. our values of what we care about as a nation. a model, a beacon of hope to the world. and he devalues that. so again, we don'ting on o inga organize, in a way that is unifying for our country. it is absolutely imperative. civilization as we know it is at stake in this election. and certainly our planet.
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i just came back, i was mentioning i just came back from spain, i was there for 48 hours for the climate crisis, the cop-25, 14 of us, members of congress, senator whitehouse, a champion on climate issues. what have we done? we've pulled out of the paris accord. we went back to say we're still in. we're still in. nearly 200 nations are in, except not the united states of america. so it is just strange. i mean, it is not about shared values, about what america is or fairness in our economy and the rest. we have important work to do. and our candidates, i'm very proud of all of them. they will be putting forth, as soon as it emerges, narrows down, we'll see a vision that one of them has, whoever she or he may be, to take us forward in a way that is values-based, that
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is entrepreneurial in its thinking, that is fair in its economic proposals, and understands that one of the challenges, generationally, to us, and in an existential way, is the challenge to the planet that we face. >> i want to bring in ethan tuttle from maryland, a sophomore at the university of maryland, an intern for congressman eric swalwell, your fellow california democrat. >> who also went to the university of maryland, eric swalwell did. >> swalwell trivia. why are lawful subpoenas allowed to be ignored without consequence and what steps will the congress take related to the impeachment investigation? >> as you see, when we have issued the subpoenas, the
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president, they have obtainject and taken it to court. we have won, as i mentioned earlier, at every level in the courts. now we're waiting for some decisions from the supreme court as to whether they're going to take up these cases or not. the deutsche bank case with the president's financial statements, the mazars case, the mcgahn case. article 3 of the nixon impeachment was that he did not respect the subpoenas of congress. so the president in some ways is self-impeaching because he is obstructing justice by not honoring the subpoenas. but that is what is -- this is such an important question, because congress, the system of checks and balances, the oversight that congress has as a check and balance on the executive branch, is manifested in oversight. when that oversight sees reason
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for wrongdoing and issues a subpoena, that's part of the checks and balances that the president, sadly, is ignoring. and that's the crux of the matter. we either are a republic or we are a monarchy. george washington had to respond to congress. abraham lincoln had to respond to congress. >> let me follow up on ethan's question because you've called the white house's decision to fight these subpoenas obstruction of justice. they see it as separation of powers. you say you're not going to wait on the courts to proceed. why is it obstruction of justice for them to go to the courts which is obviously, as you just noted, a co-equal branch of government, and have courts be the final arbiter? >> well, the point is, is that this is information they should be making available to congress. this shouldn't be about the courts. and in fact, richard nixon, in
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other words, some of the court stuff is about do we have access to grand jury information, which would be elucidating in terms of some of the actions they've taken. they won't let us see that. that's in the courts. even richard nixon said, yes, have access to the court. >> president trump has said that if there's a senate trial which there likely will be if the president is impeached, he would like you and chairman adam schiff to testify, to have to give testimony. would you be willing to testify if it meant that people you want to hear from such as mick mulvaney, the acting chief of staff, or john bolton, the national security adviser, would also have to testify, if there's some sort of deal cut, would you be willing to do so? >> it has nothing to do -- they should be testifying because they have been asked to testify
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by congress. it isn't a deal. it's about a system of checks and balances. can we not have any more questions about impeachment? let me tell you about spain and the cop-25 and the young people who were there, impatient about what comes next. >> i have one last question on impeachment for you. i promise you i have an environmental question. >> i don't mind questions, but to ask me questions through the prism of the white house is like, what? yes, sir. >> if i may, let me introduce you, jin wuk wang is a registered republican, a senior at the university of maryland. >> i'm sorry i'm asking this question, but please bear with me. as seen from the political atmosphere right now, you've seen that the united states has become extremely divided, and this question is about how we
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can unify moving forward. while one side finds it appalling that the president hasn't been impeached yet the other side considers it a witch hunt to try to impeach a sitting president. how do you plan on unifying the nation if throughout the impeachment process, and what advice do you have for the politician who will succeed you on keeping the republic? >> thank you for your question. it's really important to note that the country was divided. the president had been a very divisive force. he's not the only reason it's divided. but what's interesting to me, and you may find this interesting too, they had a poll the other day of republicans in america. 53% of them said in this poll that president trump was a better president than abraham lincoln.
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so you see there's some roots of disagreement there. maybe they're still fighting the civil war, i don't know what that could be. but again, he has fanned the flame. but some of that division was there before trump, but he has made it much, much worse. so it isn't -- that's why i don't want to talk about him. it's about what else we can do working together for our country. what are we doing to reduce the disparity in income in america? what are we doing to make sure all children have a good education and can walk to school and play outside safely without the fear of gun violence? what are we doing in so many respects to have expanded freedom?
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we have our top ten bills. by the way, we have 400 bills sitting on mitch mcconnell's desk. he says, all they do is impeach. no, we have 400 bills. 275 of them are bipartisan bills. 275 of them. one of them is something we think 90% of the american people support, background checks to reduce gun violence in our country. that would be a unifying thing, to reduce gun violence. 25,000 people have died since we sent -- from gun violence, since we sent that bill to mitch mcconnell's desk. equal pay for equal work, respecting women, violence against women act, raising the minimum wage, the equality act, which is legislation to end discrimination against the lgbtq community, promoting net
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neutrality, climate action now. the list goes on and on of the legislation that is there, some things we promised in the campaign, hr 3, lowering the cost of prescription drugs, hr 4. hr 1, the first one, was about lowering the role of big dark money in politics and making our political system much more wholesome. politics haven't always been this way, this divisive. it's going to take some healing and it's going to take some repair, not just natural healing but repair to get us to a good place. i myself think that one of the ways that america will heal is through the arts. i truly believe that that's something where we find our common ground. you enjoy meeusic together, you see a play, a movie, you laugh,
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you cry, you're inspired, you laugh, you cry. the poet shelley once wrote the greatest force for moral good is imagination. imagination, the creativity of it all, again, to share an experience in a way that puts aside your differences. imagination, put yourself in another person's shoes. and i think that that plus a discussion, people talking to each other. we all have much more in common than divides us. and we have to find that common ground. >> our audience has more questions for speaker nancy pelosi on other subjects beyond impeachment. we'll get to those right after this break. [ applause ] (chime)
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[ applause ] welcome back to our cnn town hall live with speaker of the house nancy pelosi. we're in washington, d.c. our next question comes from naoli oladende from bowie,
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maryland. she has a question about the trade deal being negotiated known as the usmca. >> good evening, speaker pelosi. many lawmakers have made the usmca a point of concern lately. i want to know if it will be passed before the holiday season. >> usmca will be passed when we have the language that has enforcement in it. the nafta, which hopefully we will replace with this legislation, is moving forward. but we have good language in there. i myself had hoped this could be a template for future trade agreements, that it would be so good that we would want to use it as a model as we went forward. we're not in that place because we're not in a place that has enforcement. we have issues that relate to the environment, issues that
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relate to biologics, pharmaceutical drugs, issues that relate to workers' rights. if you don't have enforcement, you're just having a conversation, but you're not having an effective instrument for trade. and so we don't want it to be as if, well, we had nafta, people didn't like it, they wanted something new so we did something a little bit better. nafta with sugar on top, and said, okay, enjoy this, it's something different, if it really isn't good enough. but i'm optimistic. we've always tried to be on a path to yes for this. but again, the enforcement piece is the overarching because you can have all the best language but if you can't enforce it, you really haven't made much of a difference. but i'm optimistic about it. >> the usmca includes certain legal protections for tech companies. >> yes. >> i believe you want some of
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these protections for tech companies removed. >> that's right. >> can you explain that? >> everything i'm about is about the children. my "why" of being in politics is the one in five children in america who live in poverty, who go to sleep hungry at night. my husband and i, we have five children, and we see the joy of it all, we want all children to be able to at least have opportunity. and there are certain violations on social media that are harmful to children. and we don't have to -- we should adjust that. but if you have it in a trade agreement that you're not going to adjust it, then you tie the hands of those who say there could be some improvements, what modification can we make that recognizes all of the interests involved here. but i don't think we should have a business model in the tech community, and i come from the tech community, as you know, the san francisco bay area, i don't think their business model
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should be predicated on nasty stuff on social media that affects children. >> the federal government, as you know, is facing a possible shutdown on december 20th, just 15 days away. do you believe that the democratic-led house, the republican-led senate, and president trump can all agree on legislation to fund the government or are we headed for another shutdown? >> i don't think we're headed for a shutdown. i don't think anybody wants that. i think the president and the republicans learned in the last shutdown that it just wasn't -- there was no upside to it even though the president said i'll take pride in shutting down government, i don't think he's going to take pride in shutting it down again. we would hope to be finished by the 21st. we're on a good path, if we're not, we'll just go to a continuing resolution until after christmas. but i hope we don't have to do that. but i don't think anybody wants to see a shutdown. >> tia simmons is an independent voter originally from
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jacksonville, florida, currently a teacher for washington, d.c. public schools, god bless you. >> good for you. >> thank you. thank you, speaker pelosi. you were the speaker of the house when obamacare was approved. how do you feel about leading 2020 candidates wanting to have medicare for all? >> she's obviously talk about senator sanders and senator warren, medicare for all, warren and sanders are the ones that want to do away with obamacare and replace it with medicare for all. >> i'm not for doing away with obamacare. of course i have a proprietary interest in it, being the speaker when it was passed. the house of representatives played a very big role in writing that legislation and president obama was just such a tremendous leader, and we take great pride in the fact that not only did 20 million more people have access to health care who didn't have it before, but 150
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million families had access to better benefits. and i can go into them, no longer being -- having a preexisting condition deprived you of having access to affordable health care, no lifetime limits, the list goes on and on. we're very proud what have it is. we know we could improve upon it. there are certain things that have expired in this that need to be replaced. and there are improvements that can be made once you see the implementation of legislation. so i would rather call for health care for all americans as we improve the affordable care act, it may lead to medicare for all, if you tell all on the table, see what the benefits are to the consumer, to the patient, and when you do so, compare it to what other options are. i think the affordable care act can be a path. i wanted a public option. i didn't win in that argument in the congress last time, when we
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did the affordable care act, i think a public option would be an improvement to the affordable care act. but whatever you want to eventually have, i don't think you should do away with the affordable care act to get there. the affordable care act could be a path to medicare for all. now, the affordable care act has better benefits than medicare, and people don't realize that. catastrophic and thungs liings that. i think i'm not in agreement. i've said to some of these people, i had that sign in my basement 30 years ago, single pai payer, and i got criticized for not supporting senator kennedy's employer-based health care legislation. so we have this debate, it's a lively debate, a legitimate debate. when we win the white house, the senate, and the house again, let's have that conversation with no prejudice toward any proposal but with an open mind.
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the confidence about what we believe in, the humility to listen to other ideas as we go forward. it is the biggest issue in the campaign, health care. the cost of health care, the cost of prescription drugs. it's not only a health issue, it is a financial health issue. >> people may not realize it but protecting obamacare was so important to you, you said you, quote, would have been happy to go home if hillary clinton had won in 2016 and thus obamacare would have been safe. so let me just ask you the next logical question, if a democrat wins in 2020, would you feel free to go home because obamacare would be protected? or not? >> well, i'll see. i'm not on a timetable. i'm on a mission. [ applause ] >> we'll be right back with more from our town hall with speaker nancy pelosi. [ applause ] i need a ride.
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[ applause ] welcome back. thanks for joining us for our
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live cnn town hall with the speaker of the house, nancy pelosi. our next question is from addie pearlman from georgia, a junior at johns hopkins, a registered democrat currently supporting senator elizabeth warren. >> thank you. speaker pelosi, what is congress doing to ensure my generation will have breathable air, water we can drink, a climate that will not cause massive food shortages, should fossil fuel companies, utilities and other polluters be civilly and criminally liable for the damage they're causing e ing iing to o environment? >> thank you for your question, i'm going to come over and answer as i just came back from spain for the cop-25, the climate crisis, to address the climate crisis. and this is really an existential threat to the planet. you can't exaggerate. when i came home that night, i had dinner with some scientists
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on another subject, artificial intelligence, and they said tell us about spain. i told them how close we are and how the secretary general of the united nations defined the challenge, how the scientists defined the challenges. at the end of my presentation they said, it's worse than that. so this is, as i say, if you believe this is god's creation, we have a moral responsibility to be good stewards of it, but even if you don't, just believe that we owe it to our children, our next generation to pass on a better planet. but in the here and now, in the here and now, it is urgent. and we have passed, as i said, the climate action now. but we've had 100 hearings already on the climate crisis in the congress. and it's a public health issue. clean air, clean water, food safety. it's a jobs issue.
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again, clean jobs being preeminent in the world. green technologies. it's a defense issue, because what's happening with the planet, the erosion of habitat, the encroachment of deserts, the melting of glaciers, the drying of rivers, the thermal management of the planet. this all has an impact. competition for resources, migration, all of it. so it is a national security issue as our generals and other leaders in national security tell us. and of course it is a moral issue to preserve the planet. every single day, whether it's honoring the clean air act, whether it is issues that relate to food safety, methane, right now we're having a fight in the defense bill for pfos, this is
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how you hold corporations accountable for the toxics that they send forth and they just don't want to hold them liable. it's a fight that we're having. so there is a difference, a difference of opinion on this subject. and unfortunately we haven't found as much common ground as we would like. i have hope because of young people. young people understand this issue. next year, and we're hoping, we're hoping, we've sent so many environmental bills over to the senate, so many health care bills over to the senate and the house, and environmental issues are related. next year i host the g-7 heads of parliament. the president heads the g-7 heads of state. they'll go first. we'll have ours a couple of weeks later, ours will be in washington, d.c. the theme of ours is the climate crisis, economic environmental justice.
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justice, whether it's indigenous people or people in underserved areas and the rest. i spoke in spain at the vulnerable nations conference. some nations are much more vulnerable, island populations, islands, some small, some big, some archipelagoarchipelagos, w bigger places and smaller places, it affects so many countries. it's also the vulnerability of the indigenous people. this is a global challenge that we've. and that's where we wear pins that said, we're still in. congress is acting very much, and i invite you to come to our hearings on the subject. while i'm up, though, i see we have some veteran friends here. if i could get back to one question, what is something that can unify us, our support or our
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veterans is very unifying. it's not partisan. [ applause ] >> thank you so much, thank you so much for your service and thank you for being here. >> and we owe them so much, we can never repay the debt. but we have to be as unified and nonpartisan as possible. maybe tomorrow we'll finish with a bill for suicide prevention and mental health things. earlier we passed the dorothy sampson legislation for women vets. [ applause ] >> thank you so much. i want to bring in pavel patel, a senior at johns hopkins university studying had you been heal -- studying public health. >> thank you. speaker pelosi, how do president trump's recent comments disparaging baltimore as a rat-infested city make you feel and what is your vision for
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improving cities like baltimore across the country? >> thank you for your question and for remembering my brother tommy. my brother tommy was mayor of baltimore when he was in his 30s. his hallmark as mayor, his vision was to say, i want to rid our society of every vestige of discrimination. and that was his call to action. as far as the president is concerned, this will sound flippant, but he should know about some of that because his son-in-law has been cited for many violations in baltimore, in the apartments that he rents out, there. but our urban centers and our mayors are really giving us great hope as to how we can work together. the president is out of the paris accord. but our mayors and many states and regional multistate collaborations are very
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important. and the mayors, my father was a mayor, my brother was a mayor, so i know how immediate the challenges are to mayors. and the mayors are really leading the way on so many issues in terms of ending disparaty in income, we have to be part of ending the climate crisis. i keep talking about that because it's an economic issue as well as a public health issue as well as a defense and moral issue for us. i have confidence because the mayors have cities that by and large, even a city as large as los angeles, that is large enough to be significant but small enough to be resilient, to try new things and make things better for people. some of the solutions that some people may have, like in my city of san francisco, the rents are so horrible, it could drive out the beautiful diversity that we have in our city, drive out
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families. so we have to make a decision about how we work together to keep the vitality of cities not only to be prosperous and centers of economic opportunity but also great places for families, families to live and children to flourish. >> finally i want to bring in elena levan, a democrat from new jersey and a senior at the university of maryland. >> thank you, and thank you, speaker pelosi. this impeachment process is historical. how do you want to be remembered as a part of it? >> as part of it? no, i want to be remembered as part of the affordable care act. [ applause ] i have to admit that today was quite historic. it was taking us across a threshold on this that we just had no choice. i do hope that it would be remembered in a way that honors
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the vision of our founders, what they had in mind for establishing a democracy. first time it ever was established in the history of the world. and when they did, one of the things, i keep quoting some of their sayings but one of the things i think is important to remember in conjunction with today is, on the great seal of the united states, it says, novos ordor seclorum. new order for the ages. they had such confidence in what they were doing, they had such optimism that every citizen would have the responsibility to carry it forward. it was for the ages, this new order, this democracy. that is what i find in jeopardy in what the president is doing, this march to the future. and by the way, one of the
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grievances that the founders had with the king is, he was interfering with the naturalization of newcomers to their colonies. imagine, that's in the declaration of independence, look it up. but they saw, they saw that america would be invigorated, reinvigorated by newcomers to our country, and that would be called the american dream, making the future better, and that every new group of people who came with their hopes, dreams, aspirations, determination to make the future better for their children and their family, those are american traits, and all those newcomers make america more american. and so that is the spirit, the vision of our founders. the sacrifice of our men and women in uniform, to keep us, the home of the brave, the land of the free, and the aspirations of our children, so that they have every opportunity and remove all doubt that the planet
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will not be intact for them. our dear elijah cummings, who passed away, as you know, a big loss for us, the same week as my brother tommy, a double loss for me. elijah used to say all the time, our children are our messengers to a future we will never see. we want them to be very prepared in terms of values that they take into the future. but we also want that future to be better for our children. so this is all about the children. and again, that's why we're so excited about this health care bill, the prescription drug bill that we will be introducing. we'll have a press conference in the morning on this. and this is about, it's about making prescription drugs cheaper by having the power to negotiate for lower prices. it's about pegging the price of our drugs to what it is in other
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countries so we don't pay any more than 120% of something. it's transformative, the savings will go to medicare, for additional benefits, vision, hearing, dental. that's the biggest improvement to medicare since it was established. and the other benefits as well. the list goes on. so it's about -- everything we do is supposed to be about getting results for the american people. we hope that we can always find common ground. we have a responsibility to do so in a bipartisan way. but if we don't, we cannot say, well, we're just not going down that path. in any case, it's pretty exciting to have the role to be here at this time. i would hope that our legacy would be one of respect, one of
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fairness, and one of honoring my oath of office to protect and defend the constitution of the united states from all enemies foreign and domestic, so help me god. >> with that, madam speaker, thank you for joining us tonight, we appreciate it. thank you to our studio audience for your wonderful questions. "cnn tonight with don lemon" starts right now. jake tapper, thank you very much. i'm don lemon, by the way. you saw the house speaker raising her right hand and taking the oath of office, saying that's what this is about. on the very day she announced that the house will proceed with the articles of impeachment against president trump, tonight doubling down, saying the president violated the constitution and his oath of office. that president, president trump, has undermined the integrity of our electoral process, and that if he is not stopped, that he'll continue to do so. pelosi said that by moving forward with the articles of
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impeachment, congress is honoring its oath to defend the constitution. let's talk now, there they are, right in front of us, it was very interesting, it was all about the constitution, she's saying, it's not about the election. gloria borger, mark preston, mia mallika henderson. tun thank you for joining us. the house speaker said she would have no regrets if the exit polls showed in 2020 after the election, that the impeachment helped reelect donald trump if that did happen. she did say to one of the questioners, let's not even european fa, you know, fathom that that would happen. she didn't want to get ahead of that today. >> and jake tapper tried to get her to say whether she personally believes that the house should impeach trump. and we know that's probably what she believes, but she stopped short of doing that. i think that's because she understands this moment.
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she has said she is not counting votes among democrats in the house, she's not what we call whipping this vote, she's letting people vote their conscience. she is saying, look, this isn't about politics, it's about the constitution. we heard a lot of talk tonight about the founding fathers, about their vision. as she said, she passed a threshold today, when she said, okay, we need to write these articles of impeachment, but when jake tried to sort of figure out what might be in those articles, and we have a general idea from listening to the judiciary committee, of course, she wouldn't give that away either. she said, you know, it's kind of a group effort to compose these articles. so she doesn't want to get ahead of her caucus, but we sure know what direction they're headed in. >> very serious tone. >> very. >> very serious tone this evening. mark preston, i want to play this moment from tonight's town hall, nancy pelosi reacting to the president saying that she had a nervous fit this morning. watch this.
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>> the president is a master at projecting. when he calls somebody nervous, he's the nervous one. when he suspects somebody's not praying, he's probably not praying. but i do pray for him because he is the president of the united states and i pray that god will open his heart to meeting the needs of people in our country. >> she did go on to say what her prayers were for the president, she prayed for his family, she prayed for his safety, she prayed for his health. is she wrong, mark? >> i don't think she's wrong at all. in fact she even went on to say that even more reason to pray for him because he doesn't believe her, meaning that she's taking pity on him. look, nancy pelosi was put into a very interesting position today where she had to go out and defend her faith. often you don't see democrats being put into that position but she chose to bring that up and to try to put this into context,
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to try to put everything into context to show this isn't personal. when you tie that into how she answered today about how methodically the house is going to go through these impeachment articles, how much effort has gone into it, that this in fact is not a rush to judgment, that she is somebody who has been saying that we need to slow down a little bit, let's make sure we get this right, i think that we heard that not only in her ve very -- you know, answers that had to deal with the impeachment, but she also answered that way when she was talking about how she was feel inside. whether or not people believe that, i'll leave that up to them. but it was certainly an interesting way to answer that question, and an interesting, you know, back and forth between two very powerful leaders at this time in our history. >> as gloria mentioned, nia, she didn't want to talk about specific articles of impeachment tonight. how high are the stakes for democrats as they continue how broad or how narrow to make those articles? >> yeah, i mean, that's been a
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big question, right, particularly if you are one of these democrats in these districts where trump won in 2016, the so-called front line districts, i think there are 43 of them, in the house. those folks are some of the ones that tip the balance, right? there were a lot of democrats who wanted trump to be impeached, for the house to move forward with articles of impeachment and investigation right after the mueller report, right after the mueller testimony. but ukraine made it clear, right? that was the difference-maker for not only nancy pelosi, a lot of those front line democrats, and obviously adam schiff, but this is something they'll have to be wrestling with. do they bring in the mueller report? do they bring in any of the obstruction instances in the mueller report, part 2, 10 or 11 instances of the president interfering, firing james comey, wanting to fire mueller as well. that's a big question. if you think about the clinton
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impeachment, it very much was sort of newt gingrich versus bill clinton. and here you have a sense that nancy pelosi doesn't want to make this about herself. she said, the times have found us. that last question, the woman asked about impeachment, this is an historic day, what do you want to be remembered for, she said she wanted to be remembered for other things, the affordable care act. so this is something, it's up to her caucus, adam schiff is obviously an important figure here, nadler has a role in this as well. she obviously wants to talk about other things that her caucus is doing like those pieces of legislation, she said 400 pieces of legislation on mitch mcconnell's desk. >> it seems that phone call was a turning point for a lot of people. gloria, how much of this process is driven by the speaker, i would imagine a lot of it because she is the leader, is she the hidden hand on a lot of this? >>