You may have noticed some articles and Tweets floating around today suggesting that Nancy Pelosi could be in for a serious penalty after ripping up President Trump’s speech last night.
Those penalties are prison time and loss of office.
No one would be happier than me if Pelosi was REMOVED FROM OFFICE, but….is it true?
Let’s take a look.
The idea seems to have been started by this Tweet from Carl Higbie:
And the gasoline was really added to the fire when Don Jr. picked up on it and Retweeted it.
All bets were off after that:
So....is it true?
Is that really what the law says?
Let's actually go to the law books.
Here is a screenshot of the actual code section from Cornell Universities law site:
And here's the text if you're having trouble reading that:
18 U.S. Code § 2071.Concealment, removal, or mutilation generally
Whoever willfully and unlawfully conceals, removes, mutilates, obliterates, or destroys, or attempts to do so, or, with intent to do so takes and carries away any record, proceeding, map, book, paper, document, or other thing, filed or deposited with any clerk or officer of any court of the United States, or in any public office, or with any judicial or public officer of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.
Whoever, having the custody of any such record, proceeding, map, book, document, paper, or other thing, willfully and unlawfully conceals, removes, mutilates, obliterates, falsifies, or destroys the same, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both; and shall forfeit his office and be disqualified from holding any office under the United States. As used in this subsection, the term “office” does not include the office held by anypersonas a retired officer of the Armed Forces of the United States.
The preliminary question is whether the copy of the speech meets the definition of a "...record, proceeding, map, book, paper, document, or other thing...".
The next question is whether it was "...filed or deposited with any clerk or officer of any court of the United States, or in any public office, or with any judicial or public officer of the United States...".
Don Jr. is right about one thing.
If the tables were turned, you can bet the Democrats would go after President Trump for anything they could find.
And let's be honest....this Code Section and application to Nancy Pelosi ripping up the copy of the speech, is stronger than any actual claim made by Democrats in the impeachment procedings.
That really says a lot.
But would charging Nancy Pelosi with this really hold up?
My guess is no.
And as any good prosecutor would tell you, the last thing you want to do is over-charge a crime and not be able to prove it.
My suspicion is that this Code Section is really about destroying an ORIGINAL record of some office of the government.
Think of Birth Certificates, Deeds, Death Records, Titles, stuff like that.
But a "copy" of a speech?
Probably a bit of a stretch, but that's just my opinion.
With multiple other copies existing, plus the video recording of the speech, it's unlikely any true history was lost or altered.