House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (CA) vowed Saturday that Democrats in the House will continue their aggressive investigations into President Donald Trump, as chants of “Impeach!” erupted from the crowd.
Pelosi stopped short of calling for impeachment, holding firm to her position that Democrats need to build an “ironclad case” against the president.
“With Democrats holding the majority, we will legislate,” Pelosi told the crowd at the California Democratic Party’s annual convention. “But we will also investigate and litigate to protect our democracy.”
The event highlighted a growing rift in both the Democratic House caucus and among the party’s rank-and-file on how to proceed after a report by special counsel Robert Mueller, released last month, documented several instances of possible obstruction of justice by Trump and his associates.
Calls for impeachment grew louder Wednesday, after Mueller held his first press conference since his investigation ended.
“If we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so,” Mueller said.
Mueller added that the Constitution “requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse a sitting president of wrongdoing.”
That statement seemed to toss the ball back into Congress’ court. But many Democrats worry that a vote to pass articles of impeachment by the Democratic House majority would by a Pyrrhic victory. The Republican-controlled Senate would almost certainly acquit Trump, which they fear could strengthen his hand going into his 2020 election campaign.
Just 50 of the House’s 235 Democrats, or about 21.2%, have publicly called for impeachment. They’ve been joined by a lone Republican, longtime Trump foe Rep. Justin Amash (MI). Another Democrat, Rep. Ro Khanna (CA), has called for Congress to censure Trump and to “keep all our options on the table.”
One lawmaker who has been at the spear tip of House Democrats’ investigations into Trump, Judiciary Committee Chair Jerrold Nadler (NY), cautioned against rushing to impeachment during an interview Friday.
“Impeachment is a political act, and you cannot impeach a president if the American people will not support it,” Nadler, who would oversee any impeachment hearings in the House, said. “The American people right now do not support it because they do not know the story. They don’t know the facts. We have to get the facts out. We have to hold a series of hearings. We have to hold the investigations.”
There were signs Wednesday that Mueller’s press conference may have deepened fissures among the Democratic House leadership.
Fresh calls for impeachment came from Homeland Security Committee Chair Bennie Thompson (MS) and House Rules Committee Chair Jim McGovern (D-MA). Another member of the House leadership team, Financial Services Committee Chair Maxine Waters (CA), has long called for impeachment.
Pelosi indicated Saturday that she understands the tensions within her own caucus and is not taking impeachment off the table. Six separate House committees have launched investigations into Trump and his administration since Democrats took over the majority in January, Pelosi said Saturday.
“We will go where the facts lead us,” she said. “We will insist on the truth. We will build on an ironclad case to act. Because in the United States of America, no one is above the law — not even the president of the United States. And President Trump will be held accountable for his actions.”