Pelosi explains what she was saying to Trump in viral photo: 'All roads lead to Putin'

House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiVoters want a strong economy and leadership, Democrats should listen On The Money: Biden to nominate Yellen for Treasury secretary | 'COVID cliff' looms | Democrats face pressure to back smaller stimulus Democrats face increasing pressure to back smaller COVID-19 stimulus MORE (D-Calif.) said Thursday she was delivering a simple message to President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden team wants to understand Trump effort to 'hollow out government agencies' Trump's remaking of the judicial system Overnight Defense: Trump transgender ban 'inflicts concrete harms,' study says | China objects to US admiral's Taiwan visit MORE as she stood and departed a contentious White House meeting the previous day: "At that moment, I was probably saying, 'All roads lead to Putin.'"

The picture of Pelosi standing opposite the president as she prepared to leave the Wednesday meeting quickly went viral, after Trump tweeted it out and Pelosi's office later made it the cover photo of her own Twitter account. In the picture, Pelosi is the only woman at the table, the only person standing opposite a seated row of men.


Pelosi has long speculated about the possible link between Trump and the Russian president, Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinBiden rolls out national security team The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC - Calls mount to start transition as Biden readies Cabinet picks Putin not ready to recognize Biden win MORE. Democrats investigating Trump had initially focused their attention on the president's suspected role in Russia's 2016 election meddling.

The impeachment inquiry has since shifted to focus on Trump's dealings with Ukraine, but there's a Russia link in that investigation, too, as Democrats are seeking to learn why administration officials had pressed Ukrainian leaders to open an investigation into debunked theories that Ukraine — not Russia — was behind the 2016 election interference.

The U.S. intelligence community has concluded that Moscow was behind the hacking.

The White House had called the gathering Wednesday to discuss Trump's recent decision to pull U.S. troops out of northern Syria, in the process abandoning the Kurdish troops who have fought alongside the United States for years. The exodus of U.S. troops essentially greenlighted an offensive by Turkish forces, who quickly stormed into the region.

"That has nothing to do with us," Trump said Wednesday, dismissing the conflict that ensued following the troops' exit.

Wednesday's White House meeting came just hours after the House had passed a resolution condemning Trump's Syria decision by an overwhelming vote of 354-60 — a rare display of Trump's Republican allies rebuking the president.

Pelosi on Thursday provided a few more details about the contentious gathering, saying she told Trump that he was, in fact, breaking his campaign-trail promise to bring the troops home, since the Pentagon has said it will send thousands of new troops to Saudi Arabia following the Syria decision.

"If the president is saying, 'I said during the campaign I was going to take the troops home,' then is home Saudi Arabia?" Pelosi asked Thursday.

Pelosi also accused the president of pulling the troops from Syria without articulating a strategy afterwards.

"What is the plan for fighting ISIS now that we have reneged on our handshake with the Kurds to do our fighting for us there?" she said.

Trump and the Republicans have disputed the reasons given by Pelosi and other Democratic leaders for the Democrats leaving Wednesday's meeting prematurely.

In response, Pelosi floated the notion that future meetings should be recorded, so the public can know what transpired.

"I think it would be interesting — you tell me — if we could have a recording of what goes on in those offices," Pelosi said. "Because they come out and say, 'Oh this happened, and that happened.' And you're like, 'We must have been at two different meetings because that didn't happen.'"