Pelosi defends Trump oversight as Democrats’ calls for impeachment grow

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Friday defended her methodical approach to investigating President Trump as calls for his impeachment inched up toward the edge of majority support among the Democratic caucus. 

Pelosi has come under fire from liberals on and off Capitol Hill for what they consider a too-cautious strategy for confronting allegations of presidential misconduct, particularly in the wake of former special counsel Robert Mueller’s testimony before Congress last week on his investigation into Russia’s election meddling and Trump’s efforts to block the probe. 

{mosads}But Pelosi, in a long and comprehensive statement, argued that Democratic leaders are fighting tooth-and-nail to hold the president to account, listing a long series of committee investigations, court challenges and legislative remedies she’s pushing in lieu of outright impeachment. 

“To protect our democracy and our Constitution, Democrats in the Congress continue to legislate, investigate and litigate,” she said.

The statement arrives as the number of House Democrats backing impeachment in some form grew to 117, according to a count being kept by The Hill.

The list includes those who would vote tomorrow to oust Trump with articles of impeachment; those who favor an impeachment inquiry that might lend Democrats new teeth in conducting their investigations; and those who would vote on impeachment given the chance, but also support the House Judiciary Committee’s strategy of using the potential for impeachment as a basis for securing information withheld by the administration, without launching a formal impeachment process.

Pelosi on Friday noted the more damning revelations of Mueller’s testimony, saying the former FBI director “confirmed that the president’s campaign welcomed Russian interference in the election, and laid out ten instances of the President’s obstruction of justice.”

Trump’s subsequent efforts to withhold information from the Democratic investigations “is further evidence of obstruction of justice,” she added.  

Yet Pelosi has long sought to defuse the impeachment effort, noting the lack of support from either the public or Republicans on Capitol Hill. And she’s also fighting to retain the House in the 2020 elections — an effort that hinges largely on victories for moderate Democrats in swing districts where even talk of impeachment could prove a liability.

Still, the growing clamor for impeachment within the caucus has put pressure on Pelosi and party leaders to put on their toughest face in confronting the mercurial president. Last week, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) outlined a plan that alludes to impeachment in seeking disputed documents and witness testimony related to Mueller’s investigation — a dynamic highlighted by Pelosi in Friday’s statement.

The Speaker also pointed to a number of additional steps Democrats have taken to hold Trump’s feet to the fire. The list includes efforts by the House Oversight and Reform Committee to secure Trump’s financial records, which could reveal violations of the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause; a bid by the Ways and Means Committee to obtain Trump’s taxes, which might uncover additional conflicts of interest related to Trump’s finances; and investigations by the Foreign Affairs Committee into Trump’s ties to Russia, some of which were not the subject of Mueller’s probe.

Pelosi also touted sweeping election reforms Democrats have passed through the House, which Senate GOP leaders have refused to consider. 

“The assault on our elections and our Constitution is a grave national security issue,” she said. “We owe it to our Founders to sustain our system of checks and balances and our democracy. We owe it to our heroic men and women in uniform who risk their lives for freedom to defend our democracy at home. We owe it to our children to ensure that no present or future president can dishonor the oath of office without being held accountable.

“In America, no one is above the law,” she added. “The President will be held accountable.”

Tags Donald Trump Donald Trump Impeachment Impeachment Jerrold Nadler Mueller investigation Nancy Pelosi Robert Mueller
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