Two Republican House leaders have commissioned U.S. Attorney General William Barr to establish whether or not House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) act of tearing up President Donald Trump’s State of the Union Speech in February was a criminal act in violation of federal law.
After ripping up the speech immediately following the conclusion of Trump’s address on national television, Pelosi continued her staged assault on the president when trying to justify why she did it.
“[I ripped it] because it was the courteous thing to do – considering the alternatives," Pelosi publicly explained after the unprecedented incident, according to Fox News. "I tore it up. I was trying to find one page with truth on it. I couldn't."
Finally facing the consequences?
Even though Pelosi has faced no consequences for tearing the speech – despite triggering a national uproar at the time – the controversial and disrespectful gesture is being addressed seven months after the fact, as Republican Policy Committee Chairman Gary Palmer (R-Ala.) and Republican Study Committee Chairman Mike Johnson (R-La.) are appealing to Barr in a letter to determine whether she should be brought to justice for the retaliatory act.
“We write to request an advisory opinion on whether House Speaker Nancy Pelosi committed a criminal act by destroying an official copy of the State of the Union speech delivered to her by President Donald J. Trump,” the letter written by the GOP leaders on Tuesday reads.
Palmer believes that the act many consider immature, irresponsible and illegal should not continue to be overlooked out of a concern that such reprobate behavior by Democrats will be condoned, encouraged and replicated in the future.
“Nancy Pelosi’s famous tantrum on the House floor was more than disgraceful; she violated her responsibility to preserve official documents delivered to the House of Representatives,” Palmer expressed in a statement, according to Fox. “We ask the Attorney General to review this scandalous outburst – not simply because it offended every American, but because it set a precedent for radical politicians to hijack state events for partisan performance art and possibly break the law with, thus far, no consequence.”
According to research conducted by the GOP lawmakers, Pelosi may have likely been in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2071 – addressing the mutilation of federal records and setting a criminal sentence of up to three years in prison for destroying official documents.
Earlier this year, a similar contention was waged against Pelosi – but not followed up on – as numerous conservative personalities also suggested that Pelosi’s speech tearing was illegal, and now Palmer and Johnson are determined to resolve the matter once for all.
Left looking the other way
Pelosi’s spokesman, Drew Hammil, is shrugging off the latest challenge to Pelosi’s symbolic act of defiance and referred to the left-leaning PolitiFact check that gave a “pants on fire!” rating to the allegation that Pelosi broke the law.
In addition, the publication quoted Douglas Cox – a professor at City University of New York School of Law – who claimed at the time that Pelosi did nothing wrong.
"Her copy of the State of the Union address is not a government record or government property at all," Cox insisted to PolitiFact on Feb. 5 . "It is personal property."
Trump disagreed with this reasoning in a comment he made a few days after the contentious incident.
“I thought it was a terrible thing; it’s illegal what she did – she broke the law,” the president told White House pool reporters Feb. 7, according to Breitbart News. “It was very illegal [because the speech was an official government document, and it was] very disrespectful to the chamber, to the country.”
The reignited controversy comes at a time when many Republicans and conservative critics are expressing outrage and calling for Pelosi to step down after she had her hair done at a hair salon in San Francisco – a business that has been shut down due to COVID-19 restrictions she has vehemently supported, which have been put in place by her party’s Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-Calif.) as much of California remains in lockdown.