Fact check: Donald Trump did not, cannot file 'impeachment lawsuit' against Nancy Pelosi




  • In Politics
  • 2022-09-26 22:30:53Z
  • By USA TODAY

The claim: Nancy Pelosi is set to resign as Trump files an impeachment lawsuit against her

As speaker of the House and a member of Congress since 1987, Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has long been a target for conspiracy theorists.

One of the latest comes from a Sept. 12 Facebook video that claims former President Donald Trump is forcing Pelosi from office.

"Nancy Pelosi set to resign from Congress as Trump files impeachment lawsuits against her," says the title of a video that was viewed 13,000 times in a few weeks.

But, the claim is false for several reasons.

Pelosi is not resigning. The representative of California's 12th Congressional District is currently running for reelection.

And members of the House of Representatives cannot be impeached. Trump cannot initiate an impeachment proceeding against anyone, as only the House can do that.

An "impeachment lawsuit," as the post claims, is "nonsense," said Frank Bowman, law professor at the University of Missouri. A lawsuit implies involvement with the courts, and courts have no authority over impeachments, Bowman said.

The video attached to the post provides no evidence of this claim, showing only a compilation of unrelated footage.

USA TODAY reached out to the users who shared the claim for comment.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif.  

Only the House of Representatives has the power to impeach

The post claims Trump filed an "impeachment lawsuit" against Pelosi. Bowman said this contains a contradiction because the courts are not involved in impeachment procceedings, contrary to what the term "lawsuit" implies.

"There is no such thing as an 'impeachment lawsuit.' Courts have no role to play in initiating an impeachment or reviewing it once it's done," Bowman said.

Members of Congress cannot be impeached, Bowman said. Instead, each legislative body can expel members, the rules of which are determined by the respective chamber, according to the Senate's website.

The Constitution gives the House the sole power of impeaching the president, vice president and officials "commissioned by the president," according to the Congressional Research Service. Historically, this has been interpreted to refer to officials of the executive and judicial branches.

Fact check: Supreme Court did not, cannot rule to impeach Nancy Pelosi

Members of the House can begin an impeachment proceeding by introducing a bill, or the full body can pass a House resolution, according to the House's website. If the impeachment articles get a simple majority vote from the House, the impeachment moves to a Senate trial.

No evidence Pelosi is resigning

There is no evidence that Pelosi is resigning, as she has made no statement to that effect, nor has any reliable media outlet reported it. The longtime lawmaker is currently running for reelection, which shows her intention to remain in office.

Her future as House speaker, though, is unclear. Pelosi said in November 2020 she would only serve one term as leader of the House. But she "has since distanced herself from that timeline," according to the Los Angeles Times.

USA TODAY reached out to Pelosi's office for comment.

Additionally, the video in the post is unrelated to the claim and does not mention Pelosi or impeachment.

The video primarily shows Trump talking about crime, voter identification and critical race theory at the 2021 Conservative Political Action Conference, a gathering hosted by the American Conservative Union. It's followed by a clip from Tucker Carlson Tonight, in which conservative influencer Candace Owens talks about crime in cities.

PolitiFact and Lead Stories also debunked the claim.

Our rating: False

Based on our research, we rate FALSE the claim that Pelosi is set to resign as Trump files an impeachment lawsuit against her. There is no evidence Pelosi has plans to resign. There is no such thing as an "impeachment lawsuit," and members of the House cannot be impeached.

Our fact-check sources:

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Our fact-check work is supported in part by a grant from Facebook.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: Trump cannot file 'impeachment lawsuit' against Pelosi

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