Stephen Colbert & Nancy Pelosi Talk Truman, Accountability & “The Here And Now”

Erik Pedersen

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is Stephen Colbert’s virtual guest on his home edition of The Late Show, but the first clip from their discussion is anything but lighthearted. Have a look below.

The clip focuses on Pelosi’s new bipartisan committee in the House of Representatives that will oversee the White House’s response to the coronavirus pandemic and how the administration handles the $2 trillion relief package that Congress passed last week.

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Colbert cites the World War II-era Truman Committee, which held corporate leaders to account to thwart profiteering and is cited on the U.S. Senate’s homepage as “one of the most productive investigating committees in [the Senate’s] entire history.” It was formed by then-Sen. Harry Truman nine months before the attack on Pearl Harbor.

“Can we do something like that?” the host asked with an atypically serious face.

Pelosi proceeded to give a little history lesson on that panel. “After World War I,” the veteran California Democrat said, “there were something 116 investigative committees to see how the money was spent and what went wrong or whatever. What [Truman] was saying was, ‘Rather than have 116 after the fact, I want one during the fact.’ And it was less than $1 million spent to save $15 billion — and lives, which was its purpose.”

Pelosi went on to describe the House oversight panel that was set up today amid the coronavirus crisis, using the Truman Committee as a model. “How we go forward has to have transparency and accountability,” she said, “Any profiteering and waste, fraud, abuse and all the rest, we want to be addressed in the here and now.”

Here is the clip — note that a certain White House denizen’s name doesn’t come up:


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