Former Speaker Nancy Pelosi is clarifying her comments from a Sunday TV interview, when she suggested an investigation was needed into connections between the pro-ceasefire protests and Russian influence.
The California Democrat told CNN that some protestors calling for a ceasefire in the Israel-Gaza war “are spontaneous and organic and sincere. Some, I think, are connected to Russia.” She did not present direct evidence for her comments. She had added that she didn’t think the protests were “plants” but thought while “some financing should be investigated” by the FBI, “apart from that, let’s just say it’s all spontaneous and sincere.”
Her office then further explained those comments Monday, saying she supported Americans’ rights to “peaceful protest.”
“Informed by three decades on the House Intelligence Committee, Speaker Pelosi is acutely aware of how foreign adversaries meddle in American politics to sow division and impact our elections, and she wants to see further investigation ahead of the 2024 election,” a Pelosi spokesperson said in a statement.
Russia had interfered in the 2016 election on behalf of Donald Trump, including through cyberattacks carried out on the DNC and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the dissemination of disinformation through social media.
Pelosi’s comments had prompted some criticism from the left, with former Justice Democrats spokesperson Waleed Shahid blasting them in a statement as “unacceptable disinformation being spread by the most powerful Democratic Party leaders about the positions of the vast majority of Democratic Party voters.”
Other liberals seemed inclined to give Pelosi a pass. Former congressional candidate Brianna Wu posted on X that “Pelosi’s wording was not great” but also highlighted the need to investigate “information warfare.”