Pelosi defends working with Trump on infrastructure plan

Pelosi defends working with Trump on infrastructure plan
© Stefani Reynolds
Pelosi, as well as Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerOn The Money: Trump, Congress reach two-year budget, debt limit deal | What we know | Deal gets pushback from conservatives | Equifax to pay up to 0M in data breach settlement | Warren warns another 'crash' is coming Overnight Defense: Iran's spy claim adds to tensions with US | Trump, lawmakers get two-year budget deal | Trump claims he could win Afghan war in a week Trump, Democrats clinch two-year budget deal MORE (D-N.Y.) and other top Democrats, met with Trump at the White House last week and agreed to pursue a $2 trillion infrastructure package. That came the same week Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrGraham says he will call Papadopoulos to testify Pelosi, Democrats launch Mueller messaging blitz The Hill's Morning Report — Trump applauds two-year budget deal with 0 billion spending hike MORE declined to provide the House Judiciary Committee with the unredacted version of special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerThis week: Mueller dominates chaotic week on Capitol Hill Top Republican considered Mueller subpoena to box in Democrats Kamala Harris says her Justice Dept would have 'no choice' but to prosecute Trump for obstruction MORE's report or appear for a hearing.
Despite the friction, Pelosi said Democrats have an obligation to work on infrastructure — if they believe both sides can reach an agreement — while pursuing investigations of the Trump administration.
"People say to me, ‘How can you go talk to him about infrastructure when they won’t give us the information for the Mueller Report?’ and I say, I have to. If we think that there’s a way that we can build the infrastructure of our country working in a bipartisan way, we have that responsibility. We can handle it. We can also make sure that the Constitution is respected," Pelosi said in an appearance on Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's "Chicago Stories" podcast posted Tuesday.
Pelosi argued Trump's desire to pursue an infrastructure package and show that he can get things done, aside from the GOP tax overhaul in 2017, gives Democrats an advantage.
“He needs it, that gives us leverage. And I'm happy to — well, I shouldn't ever use the word happy, but — I would be delinquent if I didn’t try to work with him to get something done for the American people," Pelosi said.
When asked by Emanuel if she believed Trump is serious about getting infrastructure done, Pelosi replied: “I do. Because he needs it. He has nothing. What does he have to call a tax bill that gave 83 percent of the benefits to the top 1 percent in our country? That's his accomplishment."
But an infrastructure package may face long odds despite being a rare area of agreement between Trump and Democrats. Republicans in Congress warned last week that a $2 trillion package is too big and that they'll oppose any measure that adds to the deficit.
Trump and Democratic leaders plan to meet again in the coming weeks to discuss how to pay for the proposal.
In the same appearance, Pelosi reiterated her message that Democrats shouldn't take the bait as Trump and Republicans try to "goad" them toward impeachment, at the expense of focusing on policy issues they campaigned on in 2018. Republicans have sought to pressure Democrats on impeachment in an effort to highlight the divisions among the left on whether the House should move to oust Trump from office. 
"That’s why I have said when people keep after me on the impeachment, he’s not worth it. He’s not worth it because he wants us to go to that place so that we’re not focusing on whatever else," Pelosi said.
Pelosi also dismissed the idea of pursuing censure as opposed to impeachment. A few Democrats, like Rep. Steve CohenStephen (Steve) Ira CohenThe Hill's Morning Report — Mueller Time: Dems, GOP ready questions for high-stakes testimony This week: Mueller dominates chaotic week on Capitol Hill Two Democrats vow to press forward on Trump impeachment MORE (D-Tenn.), had floated censure as a way to formally reprimand Trump in response to the Mueller report's findings on Russia's election interference and the president's efforts to undermine the investigation.
“Censuring to me is weak — it’s weak, it’s nothing. If you think he should be impeached, impeach him," Pelosi said. "These people have to pay a price, not get rejected by the House of Representatives and then get cleared by the Senate."