Pelosi pushes back against Steyer’s impeachment push
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) pushed back Thursday against a movement led by Democratic mega-donor Tom Steyer to impeach President Trump, arguing the effort is premature while special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russia’s election meddling remains ongoing.
“Whether or not the president should be impeached is a matter that is being dealt with in the Justice Department,” Pelosi said during a press briefing in the Capitol. “I don’t know that they’re talking about impeachment, but whether they have the facts and the law to make a determination of how they go forward — we don’t have that information.”
The comments arrive as many liberals in the Democratic base are amping up pressure on congressional Democrats to back an impeachment effort. Outside the Beltway, that push is being led by Steyer, a billionaire environmentalist, who’s spending millions of dollars on national TV ads to make his case for ousting Trump.
On top of the media buys, Steyer is also in the midst of conducting dozens of town halls across the country, a campaign that will take him to Iowa — home to the first primary elections of the 2020 presidential race — for several events in early May.
Pelosi on Thursday endorsed Steyer’s right to speak his mind, but said Democrats aren’t beholden to their donors — even those as wealthy as Steyer.
“We don’t sit around thinking about how we deal with our donors,” she said. “We have our position and our responsibility here.
“What we’re talking about is how we strengthen the financial stability of America’s working families,” she said. “That’s where we have our unity in the party.”
It’s hardly the first time Pelosi has thrown cold water on measures to impeach Trump. For months, Democratic leaders have sought to discourage impeachment efforts against the president, fearing it could politicize the ongoing investigations into Russian hacking of the 2016 elections and potential collusion between Moscow and the Trump campaign.
“You cannot pursue a case for impeachment without the underlying factual basis for that impeachment,” Rep. Linda Sánchez (Calif.), vice chairwoman of the House Democratic Caucus, said Wednesday. “And we are confident that if the independent counsel is allowed to move forward, that we will have facts in hand at some point and can make a determination then.”
Such comments from the party brass have done little to dissuade a handful of liberals in the caucus, who have already introduced impeachment articles against the president. The effort has been led by Rep. Al Green (D-Texas), who has forced two floor votes on the issue since December. The most recent vote, in January, was backed by 66 Democrats.
Pelosi acknowledged the “large number” of impeachment supporters in the Caucus, but insisted the issue is not splitting the party ahead of November’s midterm elections.
“We respect other people’s expressions of their concern,” she said. “But this is not a divisive issue in our caucus.”
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