White House

Trump, Pelosi agree on one thing: No impeachment, but for different reasons

‘I never did anything wrong,’ president tweets, linking economic strength to impeachment decision

President Donald Trump argues about border security with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi as Vice President Mike Pence, second from left, and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer look on. Trump and Pelosi actually agree on something: not impeaching Trump. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images file photo)

President Donald Trump and Speaker Nancy Pelosi actually agree on something. But their shared view that the House should not start impeachment proceedings against him are based on starkly different reasons.

I’m not for impeachment,” the California Democrat said in an eye-opening interview with the Washington Post that was published Monday.

Pelosi’s reasoning?

“Impeachment is so divisive to the country that unless there’s something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan, I don’t think we should go down that path, because it divides the country,” she said. “And he’s just not worth it.”

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Trump, who has not spoken publicly since Friday, has been mum about the words of the speaker with who he has clashed and used as a campaign-trail foil to rile up his conservative base. That ended Wednesday morning.

“I greatly appreciate Nancy Pelosi’s statement against impeachment,” the president tweeted.

Trump’s reasoning?

“Everyone must remember the minor fact that I never did anything wrong,” he wrote, before adding his view that “the Economy and Unemployment are the best ever, Military and Vets are great — and many other successes!”

Whether or not to impeach is a political decision that Pelosi and her caucus could still have to make, especially if Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation turns up damaging enough evidence of 2016 campaign coordination with Russia that involved Trump or that his aides kept him informed about.

But the speaker and other Democratic leaders in the House have said the decision would be based on such evidence — not about domestic factors like the economy.

The president either does not quite understand how impeachment works, or he is using the strong economy, a bipartisan veterans overhaul bill he signed into law, and the $716 billion fiscal 2019 Pentagon he signed as leverage against Democrats — especially the liberal wing that wants to impeach him.

Yet, in a second post on his favorite social media site, the president signaled he has a clear understanding of the impeachment process, asking how the House could impeach him since he “has done nothing wrong and impeachment is for ‘high crimes and misdemeanors’?”

But Trump likely will have to deal with one impeachment vote.

That’s because, despite Pelosi’s opposition, Texas Democratic Rep. Al Green intends to force a vote on the matter, as he twice did when Republicans held the majority.

“I’m going to bring it the floor of the House again,” Green said Tuesday morning on C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal.” He declined to say when he plans to take action, saying, “The acid test is one that does not carry with it a specific date.”

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Former senior congressional aides and analysts have told Roll Call since Democrats took control of the House that Pelosi is unlikely to move ahead with an impeachment process because Democrats lack the 67 votes in the Senate needed to convict and remove Trump. This is a lesson she learned from House Republicans impeaching Bill Clinton without the GOP votes to finish the job in the other chamber, they say. 

But some members of the liberal wing of the House Democratic caucus who once lobbied for impeachment proceedings since have fallen in line behind Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, who echoed the speaker on Tuesday.

Trump’s defenders on Capitol Hill, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-California, continue predicting that not only will the president avoid impeachment, he will win a second term.

Nancy Pelosi is smart to say there shouldn’t be an impeachment, because there’s no grounds to do it,” McCarthy said. “The Democrats made a decision on the day Trump won. … That’s the moment that he wanted to impeach the president. … This is a political ploy that they continue to move.”

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Lindsey McPherson contributed to this report. Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone or your Android.