WASHINGTON – House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) a “stooge for the White House” due to his staff preparing a classified memo that reportedly alleges a controversial dossier was inappropriately used to renew a surveillance warrant against Trump campaign aide Carter Page.
“The speaker has appointed somebody who’s totally irresponsible, politicizing the process and really it should not be happening. For example, right now he’s talking about releasing a document, releasing a document that is predicated on another document, that was put together on the basis of total misrepresentation. It’s like the wrap-up smear. Let me do a terrible document. Now, let me write a report on it and release it feathers to the wind as people see it,” Pelosi said during a Washington Post Live State of the Union Preview event on Monday.
“Now, as you said, I have seen most of the underlying documents – I can tell you that the memo that they reference is a misrepresentation,” she added. “…This is about our national security. This is about protecting sources and methods. This is about the integrity of our intelligence. It should never be politicized. And that’s what they’re doing. And Nunes is really a stooge for the White House to do all of this – since we’re spending time together, I thought we wouldn’t waste any of it with any niceties.”
The Intelligence Committee voted Monday along party lines to release the memo. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the committee’s ranking member, protested the decision not to simultaneously release a Democratic memo written in response.
“This is an effort to circle the wagons around the White House and distract from the Russia probe,” Schiff said.
Pelosi also expressed her opposition to the 20-week abortion ban bill that the Senate is considering. She said Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is “up to practicing medicine, which as far as I know he has no credentials for” by working to move the legislation through the Senate.
“However, this is saying to doctors what they can or cannot do and what is legal if they do. This is about the health and well-being of the mother. We shouldn’t be going down this path. But it’s a bone that they throw to their base and it’s sad,” Pelosi said.
“I grant people their position on where they are on these issues. I come from an Italian-American Catholic family – a little more conservative in their views than I am on some of this. I think they’re coming around, but nonetheless – but to go into something like this, again, if somebody is doing something wrong right now, a doctor, they go to jail. So this bill in effect really has no effect except it’s a showboat,” she added.
Pelosi also slammed the White House proposal on immigration that would offer a path to citizenship to 1.8 million DREAMers, which includes existing DACA recipients, and would appropriate $25 billion for a border wall system as well as other security measures. The plan would also place limits on “chain migration,” or family reunification. Pelosi was asked if she supports providing funding for the border wall system.
“When you say wall, what do you mean? Do you mean levies? Do you mean fences? Do you mean mowing the lawn, the grass where a lot of people have kind of come through unsuspected? There are many things about border protection. And if there’s some physical structure, so be it, but a 2,000-mile wall that costs $25 billion, which, by the way, the Mexicans are not paying for, please,” she said. “And by the way, if you know anything about the region, it’s a community with a border going through it. Families go back and forth. Children go to school. People buy their groceries. They visit family and friends. To put a wall there is too, in my view, ineffective, too expensive, almost immoral.”
Pelosi also declared that if midterm elections were today, the Democrats would “overwhelmingly” win.
“There are many things going on and you have to be strategic, cold-blooded in terms of your decisions as to where you allocate your resources. But you never underestimate your opponent, never. But you don’t overestimate them, either,” she said. “Right now, I have never seen in all my years in politics more enthusiasm at the grassroots level, wanting to take responsibility to run for office, to support friends.”
During a separate conversation at the event, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said she doubts that “resist” President Trump is a winning campaign theme for the Democrats with midterm elections approaching. Conway predicted that the tax reform package would help GOP candidates hold onto the majority.
“When you think about how these members will run on something, defending something, or crowing about something, really bragging about something that they think benefits their constituents, and the metrics would say they are right, that plus the regulatory framework having been improved. You see everybody from the franchisees to small-business formation, to larger employers, to job seekers, feeling very bullish. The confidence numbers are up. The unemployment is down and that matters for something; those metrics end up mattering to folks,” Conway said.
“Manufacturing confidence being up – 200,000 new manufacturing jobs or so created. Those are all big numbers. People know their 401k’s are fatter, their retirement security; the 529 education investments having been expanded through the tax bill,” she added. “Being able to responsibly develop our own energy resources in Alaska, which had been attempted for 40 years. So there are different things people will see over time that will be helpful.”