Pelosi Open to Using Impeachment to Block Supreme Court Nominee: 'We Have Our Options'

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi warned Senate Republicans that she and Democrats "have our options" to potentially stall the nomination of a Supreme Court justice just weeks before Election Day—including new impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump or Attorney General William Barr.

Pelosi said the main priority of congressional Democrats right now is to follow what she believes the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg would have wanted: "to protect the integrity of the election." Her comments come as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other GOP senators are pushing to immediately fill the Supreme Court vacancy opened after Ginsburg's death Friday.

The California representative said Congress has a responsibility to "meet the needs of the American people" and she is prepared to do whatever is necessary.

"Some have mentioned the possibility if they try to push through a nominee in a lame-duck session that you and the House can move to impeach President Trump or Attorney General Barr as a way of stalling and preventing the Senate from acting on this nomination," asked ABC News' This Week host George Stephanopoulos Sunday morning.

"Well, we have our options. We have arrows in our quiver that I'm not about to discuss right now, but the fact is we have a big challenge in our country," Pelosi said. "This president has threatened to not even accept the results of the election with statements that he and his henchmen have made. So, right now, our main goal and I think Ruth Bader Ginsburg would want that to be, would be to protect the integrity of the election as we protect the American people from the coronavirus."

"To be clear, you're not taking any arrows out of your quiver and not ruling anything out?" Stephanopoulos reiterated.

"Yes, we have a responsibility. We've taken an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. We have a responsibility to meet the needs of the American people. That is when we weigh the equities of protecting our democracy requires us to use every arrow in our quiver," Pelosi said.

Congressional legal experts say the drafting of new articles of impeachment against Trump is within the law, but Pelosi repeatedly expressed her desire to simply follow the wishes of Ginsburg. Just before her death, the late justice dictated a statement to her granddaughter which read, "My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed."

Pelosi's refusal to rule out the possibility of using a second impeachment against Trump or initiating impeachment against Barr drew criticism from congressional Republicans. Several Senate Republicans—including South Carolina's Lindsey Graham and Texas' Ted Cruz previously—expressed explicit opposition to a first-year president nominating a Supreme Court justice in their final year. But Graham flip-flopped on his 2016 and 2018 remarks, despite challenging Americans to "use my words against me."

"Impeachment was never about a 'crime' for Dems," GOP Congressman Steve Scalise responded on Twitter Sunday morning. "They only care about one thing: their own power - and they'll stop at nothing to get it. Scary."

Former President Bill Clinton criticized Republicans during a separate interview with Stephanopoulos Sunday morning. "Their positions is do whatever maximizes their power ... Ruth Ginsburg was just the reverse."

As The Washington Post reported in the weeks after Trump's first impeachment and acquittal earlier this year, legal experts said the House could bring additional articles against him within the framework of the Constitution.

"There is nothing in the Constitution prohibiting another impeachment trial of Donald Trump," said Sarah Burns, an impeachment expert at the Rochester Institute of Technology. "They could even retry him for these charges if they so choose. For example, if John Bolton (Trump's former national security adviser) or anyone else can prove that there was a threat to national security, the House could reopen the case."

Newsweek reached out to both the White House and Pelosi's Washington offices for additional remarks Sunday afternoon.

nancy pelosi trump impeachment scotus
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi warned Senate Republicans that she and Democrats "have our options" to potentially stall the nomination of a Supreme Court justice just weeks before Election Day - including new impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump or Attorney General William Barr. MARK WILSON / Staff/Getty Images
Pelosi Open to Using Impeachment to Block Supreme Court Nominee: 'We Have Our Options' | Politics