- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Wednesday that President Donald Trump “is engaged in a cover-up.”
- Her comments came as House Democrats spar over the brewing possibility of impeaching the president.
- Pelosi has pumped the brakes on impeachment talk and said it’s “important to follow the facts,” but her remarks indicated that even top Democratic leaders might eventually have to grapple with the possibility of impeachment.
- Meanwhile, Trump is likely bracing for more fallout from the special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on the Russia investigation.
- The Justice Department has agreed to turn over counterintelligence and foreign intelligence documents from the investigation to Congress, potentially opening up new investigative avenues for Democrats to pursue.
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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters on Wednesday morning that President Donald Trump “is engaged in a cover-up.”
Earlier Wednesday, lawmakers at a Democratic caucus meeting sparred over the brewing possibility of impeaching Trump.
Some of the more liberal House Democrats have long pushed for Congress to launch impeachment proceedings against the president, but Pelosi and other top Democratic leaders have urged caution for fear of political backlash ahead of the 2020 US election.
Pelosi described the meeting as “very positive” and said there was “a respectful sharing of ideas.”
“We do believe that it’s important to follow the facts,” she said. “We believe that no one is above the law, including the president of the United States. And we believe that the president of the United States is engaged in a cover-up.”
Pelosi was likely referring to the White House’s continued stonewalling of congressional inquiries into Trump’s conduct:
- The House Judiciary Committee earlier this year launched a wide-ranging investigation into possible corruption, obstruction of justice, and abuse of power by Trump.
- The House Financial Services and Intelligence committees are jointly investigating Trump’s business dealings.
- The Intelligence Committee has also relaunched its Russia investigation.
- The House Committee on Oversight and Reform is investigating whether Trump violated ethics and financial-disclosure laws by misrepresenting his income and net worth over the past several years.
- The House Ways and Means Committee is fighting to get Trump’s tax returns to find out whether he lied on his tax forms.
Trump has instructed several current and former White House officials to reject congressional subpoenas for documents and testimony. He recently asserted executive privilege over the entire report on the special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation and its underlying evidence. And he’s brought multiple lawsuits against Congress and financial institutions he’s done business with to block congressional inquiries.
Democratic Rep. Steve Cohen reportedly characterized Wednesday’s caucus meeting as an “orchestrated” presentation by House Democratic leaders meant to pump the brakes on talk of impeaching the president.
Instead, Pelosi wants to continue to launch sprawling investigations into the president and his associates, and fight the executive branch’s resistance in the courts.
But Pelosi used some of her strongest language yet on Wednesday, indicating that even top Democratic leaders might eventually have to grapple with the possibility of impeachment.
Trump, meanwhile, is said to want to goad Democrats into impeaching him because he thinks it’ll be a losing strategy going into the 2020 election.
It would also drive the focus away from Mueller’s report, which was released last month and painted a damaging picture of a besieged White House and a president who repeatedly tried to obstruct the inquiry.
The president is also likely bracing himself for more fallout from the report. On Wednesday, the Justice Department agreed to turn over counterintelligence and foreign intelligence documents related to the investigation to the House Intelligence Committee.
Those documents could go a long way in answering many of the lingering questions about the myriad Trump-Russia contacts that Mueller’s report didn’t answer, as well as open up new investigative avenues for House Democrats to pursue.