House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) once again clashed with House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) and other leaders in her party earlier this week over whether to begin impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump, Politico reported Wednesday.
Pelosi held a closed-door meeting Tuesday with Nadler and other party leaders who are currently spearheading a bevy of investigations against the Trump administration. During the event, Nadler pressed Pelosi to allow him to open an impeachment inquiry following the conclusion of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the 2016 election. But once again, Pelosi refused.
“I don’t want to see him impeached,” Pelosi reportedly said. “I want to see him in prison.”
Politico obtained details of the meeting through several sources who were familiar with the discussions.
The meeting is the latest evidence of inflamed tensions within the Democratic Party over how to handle the Trump presidency. Mueller’s report did not find any clear evidence to charge members of the Trump campaign with conspiring with Russia, but it did not exonerate the president on obstruction of justice either. Rather, Mueller outlined 10 instances of potential obstruction that he uncovered during the probe.
“If we had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said that,” Mueller said at a press conference last month. “A president cannot be charged with a federal crime while he is in office. That is unconstitutional. ... Charging the president with a crime was therefore not an option we could consider.”
Some Democrats have pointed to Mueller’s report as evidence that impeachment proceedings should begin, while others, Pelosi included, have touted a more conservative approach. Some lawmakers have also said they fear impeachment would only embolden the president and his supporters before next year’s election.
On Wednesday, Pelosi once again sought to belay fears that there was discontent within her party and issued a warning that impeachment is a long political process that wouldn’t necessarily see Trump removed from office.
“Do you know that most people think impeachment means you’re out of office?” the House speaker said at a press conference. “They think, if you get impeached, you’re gone. And that is completely not true. And I may have thought that myself 50 years ago.
“Make no mistake, we know exactly what path we’re on,” she continued. “We know exactly what actions we need to take.”
Nadler gave his own account later that day in an interview on CNN, telling host Wolf Blitzer that “it may come” to impeachment eventually, but declined to comment on any division within the party.
“When that decision has to be made, it will be made not by any one individual, it will be made probably by the caucus as a whole,” Nadler said. “Certainly Nancy will have the largest single voice in it.”