Pelosi denies she's 'trying to run out the clock' on impeachment

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiCNN's Axelrod says impeachment didn't come up until 80 minutes into focus group On The Money — Presented by Wells Fargo — Social Security emerges as flash point in Biden-Sanders fight | Dems urge Supreme Court to save consumer agency | Trump to sign USMCA next week Veronica Escobar to give Spanish-language response to Trump State of the Union address MORE (D-Calif.) denied on Friday that she is "trying to run out the clock" in launching an impeachment inquiry against President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says his advice to impeachment defense team is 'just be honest' Trump expands tariffs on steel and aluminum imports CNN's Axelrod says impeachment didn't come up until 80 minutes into focus group MORE, digging in on her argument that Democrats need to continue building their case.

"I'm not trying to run out the clock. Let's get sophisticated about this, OK?" Pelosi told reporters at a press conference on Capitol Hill, defending her position.

ADVERTISEMENT

House Democrats advocating for an impeachment inquiry acknowledged this week that former 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 testimony confirming aspects of his report into Russian election interference and Trump's efforts to undermine the probe didn't drive the momentum some were seeking to move the needle on impeachment.

More still, House members left Washington on Thursday evening for the six-week summer recess and won't be back until September.

Mueller, Pelosi said, "was not able to investigate the president's finances, personal, business or otherwise. And that is what we are doing in the courts."

"We will proceed when we have what we need to proceed. Not one day sooner. And everybody has the liberty and the luxury to espouse their own position and to criticize me for trying to go down the path in the most determined, positive way," she added. "So I'm willing to take whatever heat there is there to say when the decision is made in a timely fashion."

While Mueller didn't go beyond the findings of his report, which was released three months ago, he did assert that his findings did not exonerate Trump — despite Trump's claims to the contrary.

Mueller also said he believes that the president could be charged with obstruction of justice after leaving office.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerNadler calls Trump a 'dictator' on Senate floor Poll: Majority think Senate should call witnesses in Trump impeachment trial Susan Collins asked Justice Roberts to intervene after Nadler late-night 'cover-up' accusation MORE (D-N.Y.) is expected to hold a press conference on Capitol Hill later Friday to discuss the next steps in obtaining grand jury materials from Mueller's report and to enforce a subpoena for former White House counsel Don McGahn, a key witness in the special counsel's investigation.

At least seven Democrats have come out in favor of an impeachment inquiry since Mueller's testimony on Wednesday: Reps. Lori TrahanLori A. Trahan'Minor league cities' need new federal partnership Ethics panel reviewing freshman Democrat over campaign finance complaint House Democrats inch toward majority support for impeachment MORE (Mass.), Peter DeFazioPeter Anthony DeFazioOvernight Energy: Critics question data behind new Trump water rule | Groups seek more time to comment on Trump environmental rollback | EPA under scrutiny over backlog of toxic waste cleanups Critics question data used in rule replacing Obama-era waterway protections Lawmakers to question FAA chief on 737 Max review MORE (Ore.), Lisa Blunt Rochester (Del.), John GaramendiJohn Raymond GaramendiLA Mayor Eric Garcetti endorses Biden Impeachment battle lines harden ahead of pivotal week Pelosi faces decision on articles of impeachment MORE (Calif.), Mike Levin (Calif.), Annie Kuster (N.H.) and Katherine ClarkKatherine Marlea ClarkSanders, Warren battle for progressive endorsements Democrats ramp up calls for war powers vote after Iran strike Nearly all Democrats expected to back articles of impeachment MORE (Mass.). Clark, the Democratic Caucus vice chair, became the highest-ranking member of leadership to date to endorse launching an impeachment inquiry.

Pelosi said that she has no problem with individual Democrats calling for impeachment — nearly 100 lawmakers have come out in favor of launching an inquiry, according to The Hill's whip list — despite her reservations about moving forward.

"Their advocacy for impeachment only gives me leverage. I have no complaint with what they are doing," Pelosi said.

Updated at 12:20 p.m.