House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democratic leaders on Monday pushed back against some Democrats’ calls to impeach President Donald Trump following the release of the Mueller report, while the president told reporters he wasn’t concerned about the potential challenge.
In an hour-plus conference call with the caucus Monday evening, Pelosi made clear that Democrats will continue to investigate the president’s actions, without impeachment, for now, according to sources on the call.
“Duty and democracy. That’s what this is about,” Pelosi said, according to one source on the call. Another, who described Pelosi’s tone as “firm,” said she urged Democrats to follow the facts of the ongoing congressional investigations, rather than make a decision on impeachment based on political concerns.
Trump, questioned by a reporter at the annual White House Easter Egg Roll Monday morning, said he’s “not even a little” concerned about the prospect of impeachment, though he sent a series of tweets in recent days blasting the idea.
Pelosi, however, cautioned her caucus about moving against the president.
“While our views range from proceeding to investigate the findings of the Mueller report or proceeding directly to impeachment, we all firmly agree that we should proceed down a path of finding the truth,” Pelosi wrote in an open letter to colleagues ahead of the call.
“Whether currently indictable or not, it is clear that the President has, at a minimum, engaged in highly unethical and unscrupulous behavior which does not bring honor to the office he holds,” she wrote, adding that Republicans “should be ashamed of what the Mueller report has revealed, instead of giving the President their blessings.”
With the House out for two weeks of recess and members scattered across the country, Monday’s call was the first opportunity for Democrats to digest Mueller’s findings as a group.
Six committee chairs briefed Democrats on their ongoing investigations, including House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, who referenced Barr’s upcoming appearance before the committee on May 2, and subpoenas for the full Mueller report and testimony from former White House counsel Don McGahn.
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“A lot of people think that Trump has committed impeachable offenses, that wasn’t really the issue,” one source on the call said. “There was nobody defending Donald Trump.”
Several progressive lawmakers, including Rep. Barbara Lee and House Financial Services Committee Chair Maxine Waters, repeated their support for impeachment. Waters, a progressive icon and the most high-profile Democrat to endorse impeachment, said she wouldn’t be organizing and lobbying colleagues on the issue, according to a source on the call.
“As a 27-year law enforcement officer, and while I understand we need to see the full report and all supporting documents, I believe we have enough evidence now,” Rep. Val Demings, D-FL, a member of the House Judiciary Committee and former Orlando police chief, said on the call, according to a source.
Ahead of his public comments Monday, Trump struck a different tone on Twitter regarding impeachment.
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The president’s comments come after he spent a long holiday weekend at his Florida estate, where he golfed, spent time with family and — at times — fumed on Twitter about the Mueller probe and the fallout since the report’s release.
As the president returned to Washington on Sunday afternoon, he made no secret that he was thinking about the potential for impeachment proceedings.