Congress

‘I don’t think it’s a growing number’: Pelosi denies uptick in support for impeaching Trump

Speaker acknowledges some caucus support for impeachment but more want to simply follow the investigations

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., says she does not believe support among House Democrats for impeaching the president is growing. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday sought to tamp down on speculation that her caucus is fractured over the question of impeaching President Donald Trump and pushed back on reports that support for such a move is increasing.

“I don’t think there’s big divisions in our caucus,” Pelosi said at the TIME 100 Summit in New York on Tuesday. She was responding to a question about House Democrats’ discussing whether they should move forward with impeachment proceedings against Trump in light of evidence unveiled in special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s report.

Asked if House Democratic support for impeachment was growing, Pelosi said, “You would think so as far as how it is amplified, but I don’t think it’s a growing number.”

While some members are eager for impeachment, the California Democrat acknowledged, she said many more are eager to just follow the ongoing committee-level investigations wherever they lead.  

Also watch: Barr on Mueller report ahead of release — ‘No collusion’

Pelosi’s comments came a day after her caucus — spread across the country for the two-week recess — held a conference call to discuss their next steps following the release of Mueller’s report. 

The speaker and five of the six committee leaders who are leading inquiries into the president and his administration advocated a continuation of those investigations, which extend beyond the narrow matters of collusion and obstruction that Mueller looked at.

But some rank-and-file members who have not previously pushed for impeachment argued that Mueller’s report provides enough evidence for the House to begin that process.

On the call and again at the TIME event, Pelosi said impeachment should not be pursued or avoided for political reasons. Rather, she said, Congress should only go down that path if the facts lead lawmakers there “without prejudice, passion, partisanship.”

“I do believe that impeachment is one of the most divisive forces, paths that we could go down,” she said.

“If the fact finding takes us there, we have no choice,” Pelosi added. “But we’re not there yet.”

Pelosi, who was overseas on a congressional delegation trip last week when a redacted version of the Mueller report dropped, said she spent the weekend reading and studying as much of it as possible. 

On Monday, she sent a “Dear Colleague” letter to her caucus that outlined her initial reaction, phrases of which she repeated during the conference call and at the TIME interview.

“The president of the United States engaged in behavior that was unethical, unscrupulous and beneath the dignity of the office that he holds,” Pelosi said Tuesday, adding, “Republicans seem to have an unlimited appetite for this kind of behavior.”

Much like Mueller did in his report, Pelosi declined to take a position on whether Trump’s attempts to obstruct justice were criminal.

“That remains to be seen when we see the rest of the report,” she said.

Despite criticizing Trump in relation to the Mueller report, Pelosi said Democrats’ efforts to work with him on legislation to lower prescription drug prices and provide federal funding for infrastructure projects will continue. She said Democratic leaders will meet with Trump next week to discuss infrastructure.

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