Pelosi: Trump becoming 'self-impeachable'

Speaker Nancy Pelsosi (D-Calif.) said Wednesday that while she opposes a rush to impeachment, President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump denies telling Bolton Ukraine aid was tied to investigations Former senior Senate GOP aide says Republicans should call witnesses Title, release date revealed for Bolton memoir MORE is pulling himself into the process by his own conduct.
"Every single day the president is making a case — he's becoming self-impeachable, in terms of some of the things he's doing," Pelosi said during a public interview with The Washington Post.
Pelosi cited the stonewalling efforts by Trump and the administration as the Democrats push forward with a vigorous series of investigations conducted by a handful of committees, including those examining the conclusions of special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerSchiff: Trump acquittal in Senate trial would not signal a 'failure' Jeffries blasts Trump for attack on Thunberg at impeachment hearing Live coverage: House Judiciary to vote on impeachment after surprise delay MORE's report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Trump has vowed to fight "all the subpoenas"; the Justice Department has declined to release redacted portions of Mueller's report, as requested by Democrats; and last week, Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham Barr DOJ says surveillance of Trump campaign adviser Page lacked evidence Senators press DHS over visa approval for Pensacola naval base shooter Democrats sharpen case on second day of arguments MORE refused to testify before the House Judiciary Committee.
Pelosi, who has long sought to tamp down a liberal push to impeach Trump, said those actions are part of a larger White House strategy to lure Democrats into launching impeachment hearings before the public is behind it — a scenario that backfired politically on the Republicans when they impeached President Clinton in 1998.
"As I have said, the president is goading us, wants to goad us, into impeachment because he knows, as do I, that that's not a good thing for the country," Pelosi said. "Maybe he knows that, but he knows that I think that, let's put it that way."
Pelosi vowed not to take the bait, emphasizing the need to build a stronger case — and win more bipartisan support — before taking such an aggressive step.  
"Impeachment is a very divisive, very divisive course of action to take," she said. "We shouldn't do it for passion or bias; it has to be about the presentation of fact. And it has to be about patriotism, not about partisanship." 
Behind Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerNadler to miss a day of impeachment trial due to wife's cancer treatment Impeachment manager dismisses concerns Schiff alienated key Republican votes: 'This isn't about any one person' Trump defense team signals focus on Schiff MORE (D-N.Y.), the House Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote Wednesday to hold Barr in contempt of Congress, accusing the attorney general of withholding vital information in his redactions of Mueller's report. 
Pelosi declined to say if she's planning to hold a floor vote on the contempt resolution, saying she's waiting for the recommendation of Nadler and the Judiciary Committee. 
"The next step would be to bring it to the floor," she said. "We'll see what their recommendation is about that."
Some Democrats have pushed to impeach Barr — an idea Pelosi did not rule out. 
"Nothing is ever off the table," she said. 
But she also suggested the administration's stonewalling efforts are designed to distract the public's attention — and the media's — from broader efforts to undermine the Democrats' legislative agenda on issues even more pressing to the public, like health care, climate change and economic well-being.
"Everyday when they're doing these things, they're taking attention away from other things that they're doing, things we are doing," she said. "Last week, when the attorney general was before the Congress misrepresenting the facts, he was, at the same time, pressing his case to completely eliminate the Affordable Care Act.
"This has an impact on public policy because they are for the special interests."
Pelosi also amplified the Democrats' calls to gain access to Trump's tax returns, which the administration has refused to provide. Some Democrats have said that Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinLouise Linton, wife of Mnuchin, deletes Instagram post in support of Greta Thunberg Mnuchin: US 'focused' on reaching trade deal with UK by end of year Commerce Department withdraws Huawei rule after Pentagon pushback: reports  MORE should be held in contempt of Congress, while others have gone a long step further, suggesting Mnuchin should be arrested for noncompliance with a century-old law stipulating the department "shall" release the information upon Congress's request. 
Asked how far Democrats would go to get those documents, Pelosi suggested there would be limits.
"We do have a little jail down in the basement of the Capitol," she said to laughter in the audience. "But if we were arresting all the people in the administration, we would have [an] overcrowded jail situation, and I'm not for that."  
"There are several options," she added. "One of them is to go directly to court."