In scathing comments Thursday as her party appeared on the verge of defeat in the Senate impeachment trial, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi argued that President Trump "cannot be acquitted" if the trial lacks the witness testimony and documentation that Democrats have been seeking.
The San Francisco Democrat also fired on Trump's impeachment defense team, saying they've "disgraced themselves" during this week's trial and suggesting they deserve disbarment over their trial remarks.
The comments came hours before Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., said he would not back efforts by Democrats to have witnesses testify at the Senate trial – all but sealing an acquittal for Trump.
But Pelosi challenged whether that acquittal would be valid, in remarks that seemed a bid to undermine any Trump claim of victory.
"He will not be acquitted," Pelosi insisted during her weekly news conference, according to Politico. “You cannot be acquitted if you don’t have a trial. You don’t have a trial if you don’t have witnesses and documentation and all of that. Does the president know right from wrong? I don't think so.”
"He will not be acquitted. You cannot be acquitted if you don’t have a trial. You don’t have a trial if you don’t have witnesses and documentation and all of that. Does the president know right from wrong? I don't think so.” — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
Democrats have been seeking to have former national security adviser John Bolton, and possibly others, testify at the trial. Bolton, who was fired in September, is reportedly willing to provide testimony that could bolster the Democrats’ arguments that Trump abused his power by seeking a quid-pro-quo deal with Ukraine.
Meanwhile, Pelosi’s comments about Trump’s legal team were equally combative.
"I don't know how they can retain their lawyer status, in the comments that they're making. I don't think they made the case. I think they disgraced themselves terribly in terms of their violation of what our Constitution is about and what a president's behavior should be."
— House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
Late Thursday, the Democrats’ hopes of seeing Trump convicted took a severe blow when Alexander – one of a small group of Republicans thought to be sympathetic to approving witness testimony at the Senate trial – announced he opposed the effort.
Alexander’s decision made it unlikely that Democrats would attract enough Republican votes to win the argument for witnesses at the trial, making Trump’s acquittal all but certain.