Last week, former Republican House speaker Newt Gingrich launched a campaign to investigate House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) over what she knew about the Bush administration’s torture program. “I think she has lied to the House, and I think that the House has an absolute obligation to open an inquiry, and I hope there will be a resolution to investigate her,” Gingrich told ABC News. Other Republicans have heeded Gingrich’s call and agreed that Pelosi should be investigated and possibly stripped of her Speakership:
“It is outrageous, and the American people need to speak to their Democrat members of Congress and ask them to come up with a new speaker.” [Rep. Steve King (R-IA), 5/15/09]
“And if indeed Nancy Pelosi has lied, which it seems to me that she has, then — then she either needs to resign or at the very least have a public and open apology to the CIA.” [Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ), 5/18/09, Fox and Friends]
CHETRY: Yes. But if it comes — she either, you know, is forced to step down or she isn’t. What’s your opinion?
HOEKSTRA: Well, I think she’s been the one that has been saying people within the Justice Department need to be held accountable, people in the CIA need to be held accountable. If she wants to apply that same standard, it has to be applied to her as well.” [Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-MI), 5/18/09, CNN]
Fox News has also been aggressively pushing for Pelosi’s resignation. This morning, Fox and Friends host Brian Kilmeade tried to get House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) to agree. Boehner, however, shied away:
BOEHNER: I think the ball is in the speaker’s court. I think she needs to come forward, either present evidence or do an apology, and let’s get this behind us. [...]
KILMEADE: If she has none, she should remain Speaker?
BOEHNER: Let’s not — let’s not get too far down the road here. I’m not going to take anything off the table, but I do believe that — that the ball is in her court. And she has to either put up or have an apology and move on.
Over the weekend on ABC’s This Week, Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) similarly rejected Gingrich’s call for a full-blown investigation, saying, “I am less interested in investigating whether her memory or correct or she lied about it than I am in the policies that flow from the debate that we’re having. I am not one who thinks we ought to have truth commissions and all of the rest of it and keep looking backward.”
As Pelosi has made clear, questions about her level of knowledge make a truth commission more — not less — necessary. “Until a truth commission comes into being, I encourage the appropriate committees of the House to conduct vigorous oversight of these issues,” Pelosi said. If conservatives were genuine in their outrage, they would be embracing Pelosi’s calls for a full investigation instead of trying to distract from the real issue of the Bush administration’s torture program.