Pelosi accuses Trump of a 'cover-up' after president lashes out over impeachment

Image: Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi attends a press briefing on Jan. 9
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi attends a press briefing on Jan. 9, 2020. Copyright Brendan Smialowski AFP - Getty Images
Copyright Brendan Smialowski AFP - Getty Images
By Dartunorro Clark with NBC News Politics
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Democrats have called for key White House officials and the release of documents as Pelosi, under pressure, readies the House to transmit the articles of impeachment to the Senate to begin the trial.


House Speaker Nancy Pelosi accused President Donald Trump of a cover-up on Monday after he lashed out at Democrats in tweets calling his impending Senate impeachment trial a "witch-hunt."

"In the Clinton impeachment process, 66 witnesses were allowed to testify including 3 in the Senate trial, and 90,000 pages of documents were turned over," Pelosi, D-Calif., tweeted in a direct response to the president. "Trump was too afraid to let any of his top aides testify & covered up every single document. The Senate must #EndTheCoverUp."

Earlier Monday, Trump accused Pelosi and other House Democrats of hypocrisy over the issue of calling witnesses in the impeachment trial, claiming they are demanding "fairness" in the Senate trial but did not allow the White House its choice of witnesses or the opportunity to ask questions of those who were called to testify.

"'We demand fairness' shouts Pelosi and the Do Nothing Democrats, yet the Dems in the House wouldn't let us have 1 witness, no lawyers or even ask questions. It was the most unfair witch-hunt in the history of Congress!" Trump wrote in one of a salvo of tweets Monday morning attacking Pelosi and Democrats on the impeachment issue as well as their criticism of his actions against Iran.

Trump and his allies have called for testimony from former Vice President Joe Biden, whom the president had asked Ukraine to investigate in a move that lies at the heart of his impeachment, and House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., who led the House inquiry. But Democrats have said those witnesses are irrelevant to the question of whether Trump abused his power, which is the charge outlined in one of the articles of impeachment. The other article charged him with obstructing Congress' investigation into his dealings with Ukraine.

Democrats have called for Senate testimony from top White House officials, including acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and former national security adviser John Bolton, whom they say have firsthand knowledge of Trump's actions regarding Ukraine. Pelosi has withheld the impeachment articles from the Senate for weeks in what she says is a bid to ensure a fair process. But, under pressure from within her own party as well as from Republicans, she is preparing for the House to transmit the articles, which would allow the Senate trial to begin.

Pelosi has also accused Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., of not being impartial in his plans for the trial after he said he wanted to start it without calling witnesses, saving that option for later, and was working with the White House to prepare for the proceedings.

Iran criticisms

Over the weekend, Trump accused Pelosi and other Democrats of defending Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, who was killed in a drone strike ordered by Trump earlier this month. Democrats have largely questioned Trump's strategy toward Iran and raised concerns that the strike, which was done without congressional approval, could escalate tensions with that country.

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., responded to Trump's retweet Monday of a photoshopped image of the Senate minority leader in a turban and Pelosi in a hijab with the Iranian flag serving as the backdrop, beneath the words: "The corrupted Dems trying their best to come to the Ayatollah's rescue."

"President Trump: How low can you go?" he tweeted.

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