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January 18, 2021 32 mins

The week after the attack on the Capitol, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi joins Hillary for a candid, no-holds-barred conversation. In a detailed firsthand account of what Speaker Pelosi and her House members experienced that day, she shares how she felt when she learned what was happening, her takeaways from her call with Vice President Pence amidst the chaos and violence, and why she was so determined to resume congressional business the second it was safe to do so. They also talk about what needs to happen to ensure that those responsible are held to account, how we got here, and what a new administration can do to address the many challenges facing the country. 


Nancy Pelosi is the 52nd Speaker of the House (and first woman to serve as Speaker), recently re-elected for the 117th Congress. Nancy has represented California’s 12th Congressional District in San Francisco for more than 30 years. She has led House Democrats for more than 18 years in her roles as Minority Whip, Minority Leader, and Leader of the House Democratic Congress. 


Related: Hillary’s Washington Post op-ed on the attack and what needs to happen next. 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/01/11/hillary-clinton-impeach-trump-capitol-white-supremacy/


Read a full transcript here.

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Episode Transcript

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Speaker 1 (00:00):
You and Me Both is a production of I Heart Radio.
I'm Hillary Clinton, and this is You and Me Both.
I'm excited that our podcast will officially return on February six,
but in the meantime, some significant events have unfolded over
these last few weeks, so we're back with a special

(00:23):
bonus episode. I think everyone listening knows what happened on
January six, when the United States Capital was attacked by
a group of seditionist insurrectionist traders. You know, I try
to get out if the weather permits, to take a

(00:45):
long walk every day. And I was out walking and
I don't look at my phone, and I don't know
what's going on in the world. And I walked back
into my house after the attack had started, and my
husband and had the television on. He said, you've got
to see this. I couldn't believe what I was seeing.

(01:06):
I was just shaken and shocked and angry and sad.
Presiding over the house at the time that our capital
was breached was the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi.
You know, she's someone I've known a long time, worked
with over a lot of years. She's incredibly thoughtful, tough, smart, effective.

(01:32):
I mean, it's just not an accident that after having
literally five kids, she joined politics thirty years ago when
she was fifty years old and just ascended because of
her character, her smarts, her skills. She's someone I've been
eager to have as a guest on the podcast. I
never ever could have predicted that I would finally talk

(01:55):
to her about such an unprecedented, terrible moment in American history. So,
Speaker Pelosi, thank you for being here, and I, as
an American, am incredibly grateful for your steadiness and your
devotion to our democracy. How are you holding up? Well? First,

(02:18):
let me just say I was very much looking forward
to being with you at the kind words that you say,
I accept on behalf of my House Democratic Caucus colleagues.
They've been so courageous, so steadfast, so patriotic, so committed
to their oath of office, and and that's the source
of not only inspiration but strength to me. So I'm sad.

(02:40):
I'm deeply sad because here it is the capital, this
symbol of democracy, to the world being overrun by people
who are being incited by a person he was not
speaking truth, but he said, well, we've got to move on.
No we can't move on. No, we can't move on.

(03:01):
We we will move on, but we have to take
stock of what this is when the really invasion, because
that's what it was. The invasion of the capital happened
January the six. You were in the middle of certifying
the November election, doing the work of democracy following the constitution.

(03:23):
When did you realize the capital itself had been breached
by the mob? Well, we were, as you say, we
were counting the Electoral College votes to ascertain that Joe
Biden and Kamala Harris would be President and Vice president
United States. So it wasn't a coincidence that had happened
that day. It was purposeful that it happened that day
to prevent us from exercising our constitutional duty to get

(03:48):
this done. With two thirds of the House Republicans voting
that the election was not legitimate and that's really heartbreaking.
So anyway, we were having the debate when the security
just pulled me off the podium. Sometimes staff takes me
off the podium when they think the Republicans are going
to do something obnoxious and I'm like, no, I can

(04:10):
handle it. I can and this now you have to
go so fast that I even left my phone on
the podium. I was using it so I could gauge
the time as people were speaking. The Parliamentary and tells
me at the time, but I like to know a
little in advance, so I left, just pulled me right out,
and they said at that point that there were storming

(04:30):
the capital, and the security just whisked away. But it
was stunning. But now again they are protective, and I thought, well, okay, yeah,
I'll go with you because it's your job to make
sure that I do and I don't want to endanger
anybody else and I'm the target, you know. So so
when we got in the car, I said, well, were

(04:51):
we going like to another room. No, we're going to
an undisclosed location. But it wasn't about me, because I security,
It's not my members. And they were traumatized by it
somewhere on the floor, somewhere on the gallery watching Because
of COVID, we had to have our distancing and those

(05:12):
up there they had to go under their seats for
a long time, and then they had to like do
a belly crawl across the gallery so that they could
have a safe egress from the chamber because if they
had gone out the door. They were nearest too. They
were there, They were there, and they were out to
harm people. Yes they were. That's becoming clearer and clearer

(05:35):
every day with the evidence that is being found. You know,
it is terrifying though in you know my however, many
years now, being in public life at a high level,
you do have to follow your security. You sometimes grumble
about it. You think, come on, you're overreacting. I know
it's your job, but you know, when I've been told
I need to put on a bulletproof vest or a

(05:57):
bulletproof raincoat, or people run up to this stage and
grab my arm, it's a terrifying experience. But as you
rightly point out, this wasn't only about you. This was
about your members, Democrats and Republicans, because I know what
a caring heart you have, Nancy, and just the image

(06:17):
of these members elected to represent Americans crawling on their
bellies to escape the House chamber is just beyond outraging.
And it was several hours before you were given the
go ahead to return. What happened then, well, let me

(06:38):
just say that first about my members. I've asked all
of them to write a journal to record how they
saw it. I said, this is history. Your perspective, your
individual perspectives are very important part of that. And then
in another month, I want you to write again your
perspective because it's this is a pain that people will carry.

(07:00):
It's a big scar on our nation. And again people
felt it very up close and personal. Then so I've
asked them all. I said, this will be the historic record,
and so I'm very excited about seeing what they put
down there because the world should know. Okay, So in
a bipartisan way, Miss McConnell, Chuck Shumer and I that

(07:21):
Stanny Hoyer was there too in Kyburne, we all agreed
we had to go back to the capital. The security
was making suggestions that we would all be transported by
buses to an undisclosed location. The members would come there
and said, now the world has to see. Now, just
get it ready. We're coming back, and so you give
us a reasonable estimate as to when that could be.

(07:43):
But understand this, we're coming back and we're opening the
session in the capital of the United States, and our
place was still a mess, but that's unimportant. It was
safe for us, and we're not coming back one minute
before it's safe but not one minute after it's safe.
So let's just get that done. And I think it
was really important. But that was by Parson. Miss McConnell

(08:06):
was very insistent as well that we do that, and
I think it was important for our country and for
the members. I thought so too. I was horrified by
everything that I saw happening on television, but I was
heartened by the return to the capital and to the

(08:26):
business at hand. It was an absolutely essential message to
send not only to our country, but to the world,
and in particular to those who thought that they could
disrupt our democracy. I know that in the vandalization of
your office, in addition to taking things like your left
turn and other objects from your office, they left you

(08:49):
a message that said we will not back down. Well,
you did not back down, and the leadership and the
members did not back down. When you look forward, Nancy,
what do you see as a path that you and
members of Congress, and obviously the incoming Biden Harris administration,
but really Americans across our country can follow to try

(09:12):
to overcome the damage that has been done. Well, we
have that responsibility, that's for sure. But I do believe
that Joe Biden is a unifier that he will be
respectful as he is firm as we go forward. I
do think a strong economic package that lifts people up.

(09:33):
You said so beautifully in your campaign about people seeing
a place for themselves in the future. Many of these
people don't see that place. And if he shows them
that there is a place for them, it's not a
zero sum game. Women and minorities and LGBD cube people
are are thriving. That isn't at their expense because we're

(09:57):
addressing the climate crisis. It isn't at the expense of
their job. Now there's one other element that I have
been talking about for a long time that gives me
great grief as a Catholic. I think that Donald Trump
as a president because of the woman's right to choose.
When he signed that paper saying these are the judges

(10:19):
that I will appoint. That was the dog whistle to
the evangelicals, to the Catholics and all the rest, a
woman will not have the right to choose. And when
you see the polls of that impeachment, now think what
happened was wrong somebody some percent said he's responsible, but
forty percent don't think he should be impeached. Well, why

(10:43):
one issue? Abortion? And that is that is enough. When
you take the greed of those who want their tax cut,
that's probably a small number, but nonetheless a number. And
then you take the abortion issue. And many of these
people are very good people, that's just their point of view,

(11:03):
but they were willing to sell the whole democracy down
the river for that one issue. And you know, one
of the terrible ironies of their position is that starting
in the nineties under democratic presidents, the abortion rate went
way down, and with proper contraception and education and stigma

(11:25):
free conversation, the numbers can continue to go way down.
So what's really incredibly sad is how those who, in
my opinion and experience, do not view this issue as
a priority, have used the legitimate questions, concerns, and yes,

(11:45):
understanding of faith to obtain and use power. When we
said then was if you reject terminating a pregnancy, you
should love contraception. That's right. And again there's a great
deal of hypocrisy here because many of these people, of course,
so they're not having thirteen children as one as somebody
who had five children, almost exactly to the day in

(12:07):
six years I said to my colleagues, when you have
five children six years you come around and talk to
me as a Catholic. You know, I come from a
family that is I would like to see me soften
my message on this subject. But they know this is
something I am all the way with and and so
I understand and I respect their point of view for them, right,

(12:29):
But that doesn't mean it's a point of view for
somebody else, right. And your overall point is, you know,
let's have a true economic safety net. Let's have a
true jobs program, including an infrastructure program, which I know
is at the heart of your commitment to the future.
Let's have a health care system that covers everyone with quality,

(12:52):
affordable healthcare. And then let's talk. I think first things first,
we'll be right back. We learned a lot about our

(13:14):
system of government over the last four years with a
president who disdains democracy and as you have said numerous times,
has other agendas. What they all are, I don't think
we yet know. I hope historically we will find out
who he's beholden to, who pulls his strings. I would

(13:34):
love to see his phone records to see whether he
was talking to putin the day that the insurgents invaded
our capital. But we now know that not just him,
but his enablers, his accomplices, his cult members have the
same disregard for democracy. Do you think we need a

(13:55):
nine eleven type commission to investigate and report every thing
that they can pull together and explain what happened? I do.
Let me again to your point of who is he
beholden to? As I've said over and over, as I
said to him in that picture with my blue suit,
as I was leaving, what I was saying to him,
as I was pointing rudely at him, with you, Mr President,

(14:19):
all roads lead to Putin. I don't know what Putin
has on him politically, financially, or personally, but what happened
last week was a gift to Putin because Putin wants
to undermine democracy in our country and throughout the world.
And these people, unbeknownst to them, maybe are Putent puppets.
They were doing Putin's business when they did that at

(14:41):
the incitement of an insurrection by the President of the
United States. So yes, we should have a nine eleven commission,
and there's strong support in the Congress to do that.
We can't do that until we can pass a bill,
and since the Senate's not in, we'll have to do
that as soon as Senate is him. But there is
or for that. In the meantime, though, I've announced that

(15:03):
General Honoray would be giving us guidance as to control
and command. Clearly there needs to be a restructuring of
the infrastructure of security in the capital. For listeners who
may not know, General Honorey is the retired general who
literally came to the rescue of the Katrina disaster. Recovery

(15:26):
and reconstruction. His command, presence, his sense of humor, his
toughness are all ingredients to do exactly what you've asked
him to do. So we're not waiting for the commission,
but the commission will have a bigger agenda and we'll
get to the bottom of what complicity members of Congress

(15:48):
have in all of this, and if they did, they
should be prosecuted as well as others. Whether it's in
a security anybody who has anything to do with the
Capital could have been a res worse for whose offices
were here. I didn't care that they damage things in
my life. I don't care about things broken. The big
mirror and the speakers always, I don't care about. I

(16:09):
do care that they traumatized my staff, young staff, traumatized them,
scared them. If you could see the look in their
eyes after having to be under the desk or nearly
three hours silent in the dark as people were pounding
on the doors out for blood. When you return that
night to certify the election in those very same chambers

(16:33):
that had been breached, it was an affirmation of democracy,
but it was also a rebuke of the president on
the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue who tried to undermine
our election. I know that you reached out to Vice
President Pence. Can you tell us about that. Well, we
had been in touch with Vice President Prince all during

(16:54):
the time that we were in undisclosed locations. He was
protected in the capital all although they were looking for
him as well. They're going to hang him and something
violent to me and the other members were expendable as
well in their view. So during the day we had
a shared view that as soon as we could, we

(17:16):
would resume the ascertaining that Biden was president. And I
have to say that he had resolved that the constitution
would be honored. So our communication was more in terms
of how long did he think it would take what
intelligence was he getting compared to what we were getting

(17:38):
and was it consistent. And then at some point all
of us on the same calls at the same time,
Democrats and Republicans, House and Senate, and the Vice President.
So he was a positive factor in the course of
the day, and I was very concerned that he was
still in the capital. But he said at one point

(18:00):
at the entourage of a vice president leaving the capital
could have been provocative in some ways as well, So
that decision was made following that. Of course, we wanted
him to do the amendment to the Constitution, which he
did not feel he could do. I was disappointed because
this president is a clear and present danger to the country.

(18:23):
Every day that he is in office, every hour that
he is in office, he can do something very damaging.
Just for example, we got sworn in on January three,
a Sunday, not a normal day for swearing in. Normally
we would wait until Tuesday to get sworn in, but
we could not give him that time, which would be

(18:44):
recess between the end of one session at the beginning another.
He could appoint hundreds of appointees that would take maybe
a year to undo damage the ability of the Biden
administration to make appointments and proceed with an agenda. So
we'd and will give him five minutes. We adjourned and
we came in session right away. He's a very dangerous man,

(19:06):
and we had to make sure that we protected against
anything he might do to hurt the country. And you
were so concerned that you actually called the Chairman of
the Joint Chiefs Staff, the highest ranking military officer in
our country, to express your concern about this man starting

(19:26):
a war, even god forbid, using a nuclear weapon. Didn't you, Well,
here's a man who is not allowed to be on Twitter,
and yet he has access to the nuclear code. Really,
that's right. I think that of the Chairman of the
Joint Chiefs is a patriotic American. He understands his oath
of office to the Constitution. I don't know that he

(19:47):
appreciate it might call, but in any event, I thought
it wasn't very important to know that there had to
be safeguards from this person who was unhinged. He is
unhinged and really either doesn't know what the Constitution says
or doesn't care. Yeah, I think it's both. I think
it's both, and I was heartened by the statement the

(20:09):
Joint Chiefs put out calling what happened a sedition and insurrection,
which lays a framework and a foundation for the Congress
to proceed to hold members accountable. If what we're seeing
and hearing proves to be true that there were guided
tours and information provided before the six and even during

(20:33):
the attack, that's unacceptable, beyond the pale, and there has
to be accountability. You know. One of the things that
gets lost in all of this, which you are never
far from focusing on, is the agenda that you want
to get past with the new administration, and in particular,
it is just heartbreaking that while this attack on our

(20:56):
democracy proceeds, the numbers of people Americans dying from COVID
keep going up, small businesses keep closing, unemployment requests keep rising,
the vaccine rollout is too slow. So you're once again
going to be in the position of balancing how we
hold the president and everyone else accountable with the very

(21:19):
urgent needs that the people of America have. How are
you thinking about that? At least you're going to have
good partners with the incoming Biden Harris administration and thankfully
control of the Senate it's a big difference. The day
of the insurrection, thirty six hundred eighty six people died

(21:40):
of coronavirus. The next day, four thousand people die. The
record keeps being broken. It's so sad. And when you
think it's January, go back a year when the President
was first surprised of this and then the subsequent actions
he took. It's a hoax, denial, delay, rejection of science,

(22:02):
rejection of governance. See, they don't believe in governance. So
if government says we're a mask, they reject governance and
they reject the science that says we're the mask. So
a lot of these depths, not all, many of these
deaths are at the President's store step. So recognizing there
has to be a change and the attitude of the

(22:23):
American people and the availability of the vaccine now in
a fair and equitable way. So I'm very pleased that
the agenda, the rescue and recovery package that Joe Biden
has put forth. His agenda is very close to what
we've had in our legislation already. As you said, the infrastructure,

(22:43):
peace job creating good paying jobs in our country with
all the workforce development, so that many more people can participate.
Many more small businesses, women, minority people of color, Native
American veterans, rural businesses can participate in how we build
back better. So we're very excited about it, and I

(23:06):
would hope that we could do so in a bipartisan way.
Infrastructure has usually not been a partisan issue, right, and
so hopefully we can find common ground there. But I
don't have to tell you the importance of the bully
pulpit of the President of the United States. So when
people talk about, well, we couldn't convince some of this

(23:27):
or that, no, we didn't have the bully pulpit. So
having that bully pulpit is going to I think make
a very big difference. As we said it earlier, Then
people see a place for themselves economically, for themselves and
their children to take some of the edge off of
that insecurity, we're taking a quick break. Stay with us.

(23:58):
I'm going to be at the inauguration, and I know
you'll be at the inauguration. I know that it's not
going to be like any inauguration we've ever attended, but
I think it's possible once uh it's finalized and we
have a new president and a new Vice President to
proceed on both the economic agenda and the democracy agenda,

(24:20):
because one of the very first bills that you passed
in the Congress back after the election was to fix
our voting system, to set the rules so that these
arguments and these conspiracy theories can be easily deflected or
punctured because we all know what the rules are. And

(24:42):
I'm really looking forward to the Congress acting on both
the economy and democracy and all that that will mean
for the country. Well, I appreciate your saying that that
will be a large part of our agenda when we
go in. I talked about build back better. But to
build back better, people have to have the confidence that
their voice means something, that their participation means something. It

(25:05):
won't be guided by big dark money or abuse of
the system in terms of the voting rights and the
rest of that. But let me just say to you,
thank you the inspiration that you are the courage. It's
encourages the thing when people talk about their convictions and
their commitment to this or that, do they have the

(25:26):
courage to make the fight? Can they take the heat
that goes with it? And you, I often wondered when
you were in the White House, and since how does
she do it? Because these people are so they have
such bad intentions. It's one thing we go confident in
what we believe in that we've come to fight, debate

(25:46):
and prevail or compromise, find a way. We respect difference
of opinion. But what happened during those Clinton years, the
particular presidential Clinteers coming from New Language and um Congress
of the United States, the House of Representatives in particular changed.
That was the threshold that was crossed, that went from

(26:08):
differences of opinion to the politics of personal destruction. You
handled it so patriotically, so personally strong, a real inspiration
to the country. But two women something so very very special.
I'll keep saying to women, another woman's success is your success.

(26:30):
You don't have to be concerned. Take heart with that.
You made a difference, you changed. It was transformative what
you did for a country. I'm getting emotional even to
talk about it, because our whole family in a way,
if you feel personally, we're loving to you for your
contribution to the country, but particularly to the courage, the brilliance,

(26:53):
the vision that you had the knowledge of all these things. Nobody,
nobody in recent times is as qualified as you to
be president of the United States now, Joe Biden, he
was vice president, but up until then, George Bush, Barack Obama,
they would admit, Bill Clinton would admit, well, I just
feel very blessed to have been able to stand up

(27:17):
for our country. And I know that's how you feel, Nancy.
I mean it sounds, maybe to some ears listening incredibly
old fashioned and out of date, but if you're raised
to love America with all of its faults, it's like
the unconditional love you want to give to a child,
or that a child hopes to get from a parent.
You're not a perfect person, we're not a perfect country,

(27:41):
but we have come so far toward trying to realize
our fundamental founding values. And I think what gets me
up in the morning, and I know what gets you
up in the morning is to continue to stand up
for those values despite the storms that can be create
it around us. And you have been speaking of beacons

(28:04):
the extraordinary leader that we need it at this time.
And I can only thank you and pass on not
only my gratitude, but I know the gratitude of many,
many hundreds of millions of people here at home. And
around the world that in one of our country's darkest

(28:25):
hours we had a leader like you. Well, you're nice
to say that. I will be there in your corner,
cheering you on doing everything I can to be part
of the effort to build back better and not only
deal with our immediate problems, but our long term challenges
that our country faces. Well, I thank you for your

(28:47):
very kind words. As I say, except on behalf of
my house Democrats, who are so courageous. It takes no
courage for me. My district gives me so much latitude,
but for them it does. But also just say has
said this about you before. When people ask me what
are the three most important issues facing the Congress, I
always say the same thing. Our children are children are children,

(29:09):
their health, their education, the economic security of their families,
safe environment which they can thrive, and world at peace
in which they can reach their fulfillment. And as I've
said about you, nobody has done more for our children,
our children, their children than Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton.
And now that your grandmother, we all understand it's all

(29:30):
about the future. We can take care of our children,
but the grandchildren there are messengers to the future. Is
Elijah Cummings is a message to a future that we
will never see. So I thank you for that. I
always say to the women, when you get into the arena,
you have to be ready to take a punch. You
also have to be ready to throw a punch. That's
right for the children. Amen. We will wrap up on

(29:54):
the note of I think your nine grandchildren, uh my
three grandchild, and so we have a dozen perfectly good
reasons to get up every day and continue the fight
for the future. We want not just for our grandkids,
but really for every child to live up to his
or her God given potential. That's what it's all about.

(30:16):
Thank you, madam Speaker. My pleasure, my pleasure, thank you.
Nancy Pelosi is the fifty second Speaker of the House
of Representatives, now serving her fourth term in that position.
She is the second in line to the presidency after

(30:38):
the vice president, and she's the first woman ever elected
to be Speaker of the House of Representatives of the
United States of America. Well that's it for now. We'll
be back in mid February to celebrate a new president
and vice president, a new Congress, and hopefully a new

(30:58):
chance to bring a out the real changes our country
desperately needs right now. You and Me Both is brought
to you by I Heart Radio. We're produced by Julie Subran,
Kathleen Russo and Lauren Peterson, with help from Huma Aberdeen,
Nikki e Tour, Oscar Flores, Lindsay Hoffman, Brianna Johnson, Nick Merrill,

(31:22):
Rob Russo, and Lona Valmorrow. Our engineer is Zack McNeice
and original music is by Forrest Gray. If you like
You and Me Both, please share it with your friends.
Let them know they can subscribe to You and Me
Both on the I heart Radio app, Apple Podcasts, or
wherever you get your podcasts. Thanks for listening and see

(31:45):
you soon for season two
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