Pelosi suggests impeachment inquiry could expand beyond Ukraine

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiNegotiators hit gas on coronavirus talks as frustration mounts Hillicon Valley: NSA warns of new security threats | Teen accused of Twitter hack pleads not guilty | Experts warn of mail-in voting misinformation Schiff, Khanna call for free masks for all Americans in coronavirus aid package MORE (D-Calif.) said Friday it's possible that controversies beyond Ukraine could be part of the impeachment case against President TrumpDonald John TrumpMark Kelly clinches Democratic Senate nod in Arizona Trump camp considering White House South Lawn for convention speech: reports Longtime Rep. Lacy Clay defeated in Missouri Democratic primary MORE.

House Democrats have recently sought to narrow their impeachment inquiry to the allegations stemming from an intelligence community whistleblower complaint that said Trump tried to pressure Ukraine to initiate politically charged investigations in return for the release of congressionally approved security aid.

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Trump's dealings with Ukraine have united nearly all House Democrats around their impeachment probe, though many had previously pushed for impeachment over the president's efforts to undermine former special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerCNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout MORE's investigation into Russia's election interference.

Pelosi on Friday emphasized that the decision on articles of impeachment will be up to the committees handling the inquiry. She did not rule out the possibility that the obstruction of justice allegations against Trump in Mueller's report could come up.

"What we're talking about now is taking us into a whole other class of objection to what the president has done. And there may be other — there were 11 obstruction of justice provisions in the Mueller report. Perhaps some of them will be part of this," Pelosi said during an interview with Bloomberg Television. "But again, that will be part of the inquiry, to see where we go."

Mueller's report did not conclude whether Trump obstructed justice, but laid out 10 instances in which he may have done so, including firing James ComeyJames Brien ComeyHannity's first book in 10 years debuts at No. 1 on Amazon This week: Negotiators hunt for coronavirus deal as August break looms FBI officials hid copies of Russia probe documents fearing Trump interference: book MORE as FBI director, pressuring then-Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsThe 'pitcher of warm spit' — Veepstakes and the fate of Mike Pence FBI officials hid copies of Russia probe documents fearing Trump interference: book Tuberville breaks DC self-quarantine policy to campaign MORE not to recuse himself from the Russia investigation and attempting to remove Mueller as special counsel.
 
For now, though, Democrats leading the impeachment inquiry are focused on uncovering Trump's dealings with Ukraine and whether he instituted a quid pro quo for U.S. military aid.
 
"This is not about his personality, his policies. That's for the election. This is about the Constitution. This is about defending our democracy," Pelosi said.

Pelosi also told Bloomberg News in a roundtable with editors and reporters on Friday that she expects public hearings will begin this month after several weeks of closed-door depositions with current and former Trump administration officials.
 
The resolution adopted by the House on Thursday sets up the process for open hearings by the House Intelligence and Judiciary committees and for releasing witness transcripts. It also lays out the steps for the Intelligence panel to issue a report on its findings.
 
Open hearings would begin in the House Intelligence Committee. If Democrats decide to write articles of impeachment, the House Judiciary Committee would then take the lead.
 

Democrats have been aiming to wrap up the impeachment inquiry by year's end, or at least before the first presidential primary ballots are cast at the Iowa caucuses on Feb. 3.

"We haven't even made a decision to impeach. This is what an inquiry is about," Pelosi said.