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Two GOP congressmen ask AG Barr to determine whether Pelosi's SOTU speech rip was a criminal act

Following Trump's 2020 address in February, the House Speaker publicly tore up her copy of the president's address.

Updated: September 5, 2020 - 3:36pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

Two members of the House GOP caucus are asking Attorney General Bill Barr to assess whether House Speaker Nancy Pelosi violated federal law when she tore up her copy of President Trump's State of the Union speech in February. 

In a moment that was widely viewed, the House speaker stood up as the speech ended and, to camera, ripped the pages of the address right down the the middle.

"It was the courteous thing to do considering the alternatives," she later said. "I tore it up. I was trying to find one page with truth on it. I couldn't."

The chairman of the Republican Policy Committee, Rep. Gary Palmer (R-Ala.), and the chairman of the Republican Study Committee, Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.) asked Barr in a letter Tuesday to comment on whether "Pelosi committed a criminal act by destroying an official copy of the State of the Union speech delivered to her" by the president. 

The congressmen suspect the speaker may have violated U.S. Code 18 2071, which addresses the general mutilation of official federal records and reports. According to the law, the destruction of an official federal record could carry a sentence of up to three years in prison. 

A spokesperson for the speaker, in addition to independent fact-checkers, say Pelosi did not violate the law and that her copy of the address was personal property and not a government record. 

Palmer said in a statement: "Nancy Pelosi's famous tantrum on the House floor was more than disgraceful; she violated her responsibility to preserve official documents delivered to the House of Representatives. We ask the Attorney General to review this scandalous outburst, not simply because it offended every American, but because it set a precedent for radical politicians to hijack state events for partisan performance art and possibly break the law with, thus far, no consequence."

The letter to the AG comes during a week in which Pelosi is facing backlash for going (mask-less) to a hair appointment in San Francisco that included a hair wash and took place indoors, in apparent violation of city ordinances related to the coronavirus. She then claimed she was "set up" by the salon owner, who has since spoken out against the actions of the speaker. 

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