Congress

Pelosi again urges caution on Trump impeachment, post-Mueller report

Speaker says the facts Democrats seek ‘can be gained outside of impeachment hearings’

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., says Democrats can gain the facts needed to hold President Donald Trump accountable for potential obstruction of justice, as outlined in the Mueller report, outside of impeachment hearings. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Speaker Nancy Pelosi is continuing to urge her caucus to proceed cautiously on the topic of impeaching Donald Trump after the Mueller report outlined wrongdoing by the president that many Democrats believe amounts to obstruction of justice.

A partially redacted version of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s report released last week outlines 10 instances in which Trump may have obstructed justice as the FBI and the special counsel investigated whether the president or his campaign colluded with the Russians to interfere in the 2016 election.

Mueller drew no conclusions on whether the evidence amounted to a crime, but most House Democrats believe the evidence is strong enough to at least merit a closer examination. Some Democrats have gone a step further and called for Congress to begin impeachment proceedings against the president.

Pelosi acknowledged the range of opinions on how to proceed in a “Dear Colleague” letter sent to House Democrats on Monday, saying that while there are disagreements on the next investigatory steps, all Democrats agree “that we should proceed down a path of finding the truth.” 

Before the Mueller report release, Pelosi had tried to steer her caucus away from impeachment talk, saying that Trump is “just not worth it.”

The California Democrat seemed to be advocating the same strategy in Monday’s letter, as she pointed out that “facts regarding holding the president accountable can be gained outside of impeachment hearings.”

“As we proceed to uncover the truth and present additional needed reforms to protect our democracy, we must show the American people we are proceeding free from passion or prejudice, strictly on the presentation of fact,” she wrote.

Pelosi’s latest remarks align with her previous statements that Congress should not go down the impeachment path “unless there’s something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan.”

While Democrats may be able to make a case for “compelling and overwhelming” using the Mueller report, they still lack the bipartisan component. Pelosi noted as much in her letter. 

“Whether currently indictable or not, it is clear that the president has, at a minimum, engaged in highly unethical and unscrupulous behavior which does not bring honor to the office he holds,” she said. “It is also clear that the congressional Republicans have an unlimited appetite for such low standards.  The GOP should be ashamed of what the Mueller report has revealed, instead of giving the president their blessings.”

House Democrats are scheduled to hold a conference call at 5 p.m. Monday to further discuss their response to the Mueller report.

Committee chairs will “report on the status of their review of the redacted Mueller report, their request for the full report and underlying exhibits, and discuss what comes next,” Pelosi said.

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