Matt Gaetz files ethics complaint against Nancy Pelosi for ripping Trump speech

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., tears her copy of President Donald Trump's State of the Union address after he delivered it to a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
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By: Christopher Brito | CBS News
February 6, 2020

Congressman Matt Gaetz is calling for an ethics investigation of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi after she ripped up a copy of President Trump's State of the Union speech. The Florida Republican tweeted a letter he wrote to top members of the House Ethics Committee calling for an investigation into Pelosi's "flagrant violation of decorum."

After Mr. Trump concluded his address to the nation Tuesday night, Pelosi picked up her paper copy of his speech and tore it in pieces behind him — well in view of television cameras. A day later, Gaetz argued in his letter that Pelosi may have violated the House's Code of Official Conduct on decorum and perhaps even broken the law by destroying a government document. "Nobody is above the law," he tweeted. "She must be held accountable."

In his complaint to Ethics Committee Chairman Theodore Deutch, a Florida Democrat, and Ranking Member Kenny Marchant, a Texas Republican, Gaetz said Pelosi should be censured for her "unseemly behavior" and also requested a criminal referral. He cited a law that says anyone having custody of federal records who "unlawfully conceals, removes, mutilates, obliterates, or destroys or attempts to do so" could be subject to a fine or even prison time.

But Laura Ingraham, a Fox News host and former Supreme Court law clerk, expressed doubt that Gaetz's pursuit of criminal charges would gain any traction.

"Well, it's not really a formal record because it's a copy of the speech that the president signed," she told Gaetz during his appearance on her show, "The Ingraham Angle." "This is cute, but it's not going to work."



 
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