House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Tuesday that efforts to impeach President Donald Trump are not off the table but cautioned lawmakers to wait for Congress to complete its investigations so they can proceed “with a presentation of the facts.”
“I do believe that all of us in public office have a duty to the American people to keep us together. I do believe impeachment is one of the most divisive paths that we could go down in our country,” the California Democrat said during a Time 100 Summit interview in New York City. “But if the path of fact-finding takes us there, we have no choice. But we’re not there yet.”
She added: “What matters is the truth. The investigations that our committees will conduct will take us down a fact-finding path, and everyone should welcome that.”
The comments came after Pelosi sent a letter to fellow Democrats on Monday acknowledging many of her colleagues’ efforts to seek Trump’s impeachment in light of the president’s “highly unethical and unscrupulous behavior,” which was detailed in a report on special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 campaign.
“As you know, last Thursday’s release of the redacted Mueller Report has caused a public outcry for truth and accountability,” the House speaker’s letter stated. “While our views range from proceedings to investigate the finding of the Mueller report or proceeding directly to impeachment, we all firmly agree that we should proceed down a path of finding the truth.”
“I think Nancy is right to be cautious about making sure whatever is done in this Congress is more in accord with the very careful approach of 1973 and ’74,” the former secretary of state and Democratic presidential nominee said, referring to former President Richard Nixon’s impeachment proceedings. “You don’t put impeachment on the table as the only item on the table .… Instead, you say, ‘We are going to proceed with the seriousness this demands.’”
Pelosi and Clinton both spoke at the Tuesday event after Pelosi was named in Time magazine’s annual list of the 100 most influential people last week. Trump also appears on the list.
Some 2020 Democratic presidential candidates, such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), have made direct statements calling to impeach Trump now, while other candidates, including Sen. Kamala Harris (Calif.) and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, have carefully said Trump should face impeachment proceedings. But Pelosi has remained measured in her stance on pursuing impeachment since before the Mueller report.
Pelosi has called the potential impeachment proceedings “divisive.” In March, the House speaker told The Washington Post that Trump is “just not worth” the division that would result from his impeachment. In February 2017, Pelosi said the president’s behavior is “strategically incoherent” but “not grounds for impeachment.”
“Impeachment is a step that you have to take bringing the American people with you,” Pelosi said Tuesday. “Again, without prejudice, without passion, without partisanship, but with a presentation of facts.”