Take the Hint People! Nancy Pelosi Tells Reporters Impeaching Trump May Be ‘Unavoidable’
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi dropped the strongest hint to date as to where congressional Democrats are headed when she said that impeaching President Donald Trump may become “unavoidable.”
During her weekly press conference, Speaker Pelosi spoke to reporters about Trump’s latest blowup over congressional investigations, and told reporters that Trump is upset because the Democratically-controlled House is “not on a path to impeachment.”
But when asked about that remark, Pelosi concisely and completely laid out just such a path.
“You said that the president may have engaged in impeachable offenses, yet today you are saying you’re not on a path to impeachment,” CNN’s Manu Raju said, and asked “Can you explain why you are opposed to launching an impeachment inquiry when many of your members want to do it?”
“Let me be really very clear,” Pelosi said. “The president’s behavior in terms of his obstruction of justice, the things that he is doing, it’s very clear, it’s in plain sight, it cannot be denied. Ignores subpoenas, obstruction of justice. Yes, these could be impeachable offenses.”
“You might understand it better if you remember these three things,” Pelosi continued. “We want to follow the facts to get the truth to the American people. With a recognition, two, that no one is above the law.”
“And three, that the president is engaged in a cover-up,” Pelosi said. “And that is what my statement is. How we deal with it, is a decision that our caucus makes, and our
caucus is very much saying whatever we do, we need to be ready when we do it.”
“And I do think that impeachment is a very divisive place to go in our country,” Pelosi said, and concluded by adding “But we can get the facts to the American people through our investigation, that may take us to a place that is unavoidable in terms of impeachment, or not. But we’re not at that place.”
Pelosi has been taking heat from Democrats and the media for months over her supposed “opposition” to impeachment due to a series of comments that have been widely interpreted as taking impeachment “off the table.”
The narrative took off in March when Pelosi did, in fact, say “I’m not for impeachment,” which earned her an enthusiastic thanks from Trump. But Trump and the media ignored the quiet part of her statement, in which she said “unless there’s something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan, I don’t think we should go down that path.”
That statement was made a month before the Mueller report — and its laundry list of obstruction of justice episodes — was released, a report that Pelosi knew was still to come when she made that statement.
Since then, Pelosi has continued to walk the line between unnecessarily assuming the political risks of impeachment and strongly hinting — or even explicitly saying — that there’s a very good chance it will come to that.
Following the release of Attorney General William Barr’s now-discredited summary of the Mueller report, Pelosi said “We shouldn’t impeach a president because of a political reason, or we shouldn’t NOT impeach a president if the evidence is there for impeachment. But that’s not where we are.”
In April, Pelosi sent a letter to Democrats in which she said that “our views range from proceeding to investigate the findings of the Mueller report or proceeding directly to impeachment, we all firmly agree that we should proceed down a path of finding the truth,” neither of which eliminates impeachment, just not proceeding directly to it.
But she also clearly explained the political and substantive rationale for patience by writing that “we must show the American people we are proceeding free from passion or prejudice, strictly on the presentation of fact.”
Even less subtly, Pelosi said, earlier this month, that Trump is “becoming self-impeachable” with his conduct, and drew a very explicit historical parallel to the Nixon era, noting that in 1974, “Congress took months, months to build a case,” and that “Congress did investigations, and with the information they gathered, they came to that conclusion.”
She made similar comments the following day, telling reporters at her weekly press conference that Trump “is almost self-impeaching because he is, every day, demonstrating more obstruction of justice and disrespect for Congress’s legitimate role to subpoena. So we will, again this is very methodical, it’s very constitutional-based, it’s very law-based, it’s very factually-based. It’s not about pressure, it’s about patriotism.”
The fact is that Pelosi has never taken impeachment off the table, and has, in fact, consistently left it on the table once all the investigations are concluded. Her comments today were perhaps the most explicit hint yet (she said “when we do it,” FFS), but certainly not the first.
For reporters wondering what it sounds like when Pelosi does take impeachment off the table, it sounds like this:
“I have said it before and I will say it again: Impeachment is off the table,” Pelosi said on November 8, 2006 after winning the speaker’s gavel in the midterms, referring to then-President George W. Bush.
She has not said that about Trump.
Watch Pelosi’s remarks above, via C-SPAN.
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