Rep. Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiMcCarthy raised 0K after marathon speech Davis passes on bid for governor in Illinois, running for reelection to House Feehery: Why Democrats are now historically unpopular MORE (D-Calif.) is questioning President TrumpDonald TrumpOmar, Muslim Democrats decry Islamophobia amid death threats On The Money — Powell pivots as inflation rises Trump cheers CNN's Cuomo suspension MORE’s fitness to hold his office.
The House minority leader said Friday that Trump may simply lack the curiosity, discipline and stamina to be a competent commander in chief. Trump’s Friday Twitter attack on former FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyCountering the ongoing Republican delusion How Biden should sell his infrastructure bill 'Finally, infrastructure week!': White House celebrates T bill MORE, Pelosi said, is just the latest evidence.
“The president’s fitness for office is something that has been called into question,” Pelosi said during a press briefing in the Capitol. “It takes a certain curiosity to learn the facts, to base your comments on evidence and data and truth. It takes a certain discipline to be able to prioritize what is important as we try to bring the country together. And it takes some kind of stamina to keep your thoughts together.
“And I’m very worried about his fitness.”
Pelosi said White House officials should rein in Trump’s impulsive Twitter finger but expressed doubt that anyone on Trump’s team has the “courage” to do so.
“His statements need some discipline, and I don’t know if anyone in the White House has the courage to discipline the president,” she said. “It’s too bad because he needs work. And he needs sleep.”
Comey’s testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee captivated Washington on Thursday by providing his take on one-on-one conversations with the president.
The former FBI director said he took the president at his word that he had been fired for his handling of the investigation into Russia’s meddling in the election, including possible links to Trump’s campaign. He also said he believed Trump had directed him to end an investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
Comey stopped short of accusing Trump of obstructing justice, saying that determination is the purview of the current investigative team, being led by special counsel Robert Mueller, Comey’s predecessor atop the FBI.
“That’s a conclusion I’m sure the special counsel will work towards,” he said.
Trump remained silent throughout Thursday’s hearing, but returned to Twitter Friday morning with accusations that Comey had lied under oath.
“Despite so many false statements and lies, total and complete vindication…and WOW, Comey is a leaker!” Trump tweeted.
Comey also acknowledged in his testimony that he leaked through an intermediary his memo on a meeting with Trump that included the discussion about Flynn. That became an explosive story in The New York Times a week after his firing.
Pelosi rejected any suggestion that Comey’s testimony vindicated the president. But Trump’s approach to Comey, she quickly added, is consistent with his strategy as a longtime businessman.
“He operates this way: First he tries to charm you. … If that doesn’t work, he tries to bully you. If that doesn’t work, he walks away from the deal. And if that doesn’t work, he sues you,” she said.
According to CNN, Trump’s outside attorney is poised to file a complaint with the Justice Department against Comey over the leak.
“He’s true to form, true to his nature,” Pelosi said.
Pelosi said Trump had acted deliberately to clear the room after a meeting before talking with Comey.
“He knew that what he was doing was incriminating, and he didn’t want any witnesses,” she said.
But like Comey, Pelosi stopped short of charging Trump with obstructing justice. Trump has “abused power,” she said, but the deeper legal implications are still unclear.
“There’s no question he abused power,” she said. “Whether he obstructed justice remains for the facts to come forward, and that’s what we want are the facts.”
Pelosi amplified Democrats’ long-held request that GOP leaders create an outside, independent panel — akin to the 9/11 commission — to step in with its own investigation of Russia’s election meddling.
“We are limited,” she said, “by what the Republicans are willing to do.”