Pelosi downplays impeachment post-Mueller report

Pelosi downplays impeachment post-Mueller report
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Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiHouse unravels with rise of 'Les Enfants Terrible' Will Trump's racist tweets backfire? Al Green: 'We have the opportunity to punish' Trump with impeachment vote MORE (D-Calif.) sought to tamp down the notion of impeaching President TrumpDonald John TrumpPompeo changes staff for Russia meeting after concerns raised about top negotiator's ties: report House unravels with rise of 'Les Enfants Terrible' Ben Carson: Trump is not a racist and his comments were not racist MORE in the wake of special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerTop Republican considered Mueller subpoena to box in Democrats Kamala Harris says her Justice Dept would have 'no choice' but to prosecute Trump for obstruction Dem committees win new powers to investigate Trump MORE's report, indicating to Democrats ahead of a conference call later Monday that they have other options.

House Democratic leaders are grappling with a caucus divided over how to proceed after Mueller found several instances of Trump potentially obstructing justice.

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"While our views range from proceeding to investigate the findings of the Mueller report or proceeding directly to impeachment, we all firmly agree that we should proceed down a path of finding the truth. It is also important to know that the facts regarding holding the President accountable can be gained outside of impeachment hearings," Pelosi wrote in a letter to House Democrats.

"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."

Pelosi emphasized that the caucus will continue with its investigative efforts.

"As to the President’s conduct, we will scrupulously assert Congress’ constitutional duty to honor our oath of office to support and defend the Constitution and our democracy. That includes honoring the Article I responsibility of the legislative branch to conduct oversight over the other branches of government, unified in our search for the truth and in upholding the security of our elections."

House Democrats will convene via conference call at 5 p.m. in their first caucus-wide gathering since holding a retreat in Leesburg, Va., before the Easter break.

Some liberal lawmakers have endorsed impeachment proceedings in the wake of the release of Mueller's partially-redacted report last Thursday, including Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezOmar responds to 'send her back' chant with Maya Angelou quote Trump blasts minority Democrats, rally crowd chants 'send her back' Trump refers to Ocasio-Cortez as just 'Cortez' because it 'takes too much time' to say full name MORE (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenHarris tops Biden in California 2020 poll The Hill's Morning Report - A raucous debate on race ends with Trump admonishment Democrats fret over Trump cash machine MORE (D-Mass.), who is running for president. 

Top committee chairmen haven't ruled out the possibility of impeachment while stressing that their investigations will continue.

“Obstruction of justice, if proven, would be impeachable,” House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerTrump knocks Mueller after deal struck for him to testify House Democrats request briefing on Epstein, Acosta Nadler apologized after repeatedly calling Hope Hicks 'Ms. Lewandowski' at hearing MORE (D-N.Y.) told NBC’s "Meet the Press" on Sunday. 

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffJudge finds Stone violated gag order, blocks him from using social media The peculiar priorities of Adam Schiff Trump knocks Mueller after deal struck for him to testify MORE (D-Calif.) outlined the dilemma for Democrats during an interview on ABC's "This Week."

"I think what we’re going to have to decide as a caucus is what is the best thing for the country. Is the best thing for the country to take up an impeachment proceeding because to do otherwise sends a message that this conduct is somehow compatible with office or is it in the best interest of the country not to take up an impeachment that we know will not be successful in the Senate because the Republican leadership will not do its duty? That’s a very tough question and I think is one we ought not to make overnight," Schiff said.

Nadler last week issued a subpoena for the full, unredacted version of the Mueller report. And Democrats rejected an offer from Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrImmigration advocacy groups sue Trump administration over asylum restrictions Webb: Questions for Robert Mueller Groups sue Trump admin over new asylum restrictions MORE for a limited number of leadership members and committee chairs to view the report, insisting that more lawmakers should be able to see it as well. 

Republicans have largely echoed President Trump in claiming the Mueller report offers exoneration because it did not find conclusive evidence of the Trump campaign colluding with the Russian government's 2016 election interference efforts. Only a handful of Republicans have expressed concerns about the report's detailing of Trump attempting to undermine the investigation, such as Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyTrump's no racist; he's an equal opportunity offender Lawmakers introduce bill to block U.S. companies from doing business with Huawei GOP put on the back foot by Trump's race storm MORE (R-Utah), who said he was "sickened."

Pelosi blasted Republicans for siding with Trump. In her past remarks watering down the notion of impeachment, Pelosi has said that any such effort would have to be bipartisan in order to feasibly go forward.

"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. 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," Pelosi wrote in the letter.