House Democratic leadership reportedly is not on the same page concerning how to move forward following the congressional testimony of former Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nalder, whose committee Mueller testified before for just over three hours on Wednesday, claims Mueller laid the case for congressional impeachment and argues the Democrat’s majority should kickstart the impeachment process. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reportedly differs on the plan and is, instead, trying to calm impeachment murmurs.
“House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler pushed to launch impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump during a closed-door meeting Wednesday, only to be rebuffed by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, according to four sources familiar with the discussions,” Politico reports.
Here’s more from the report:
Nadler indicated that the committee could launch proceedings on its own. Articles filed by Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) at the outset of this Congress have already been referred to the panel, giving Democrats a vehicle to begin the hugely controversial proceedings. The technical discussion also included a question about how an impeachment case is presented to the Senate.
In the course of the wide-ranging discussion, Nadler countered Pelosi’s pushback by noting that polls showed limited support for removing President Richard Nixon from office when the House began impeachment hearings in 1973, but that public support for the effort grew as more evidence came out about Nixon’s illegal behavior.
As she has for months, Pelosi argued to her colleagues that the “slow, methodical approach” employed by House Democrats was the right way to move forward, despite the fact that more than 90 of her members have called for an impeachment inquiry to begin now.
During the congressional hearing, key witness Robert Mueller testified that he did not provide a prosecutorial decision as to whether Trump should be charged with a crime or not—despite investigating Trump’s actions before, during, and after the 2016 presidential election—as an Office of Legal Counsel decision determined a sitting president cannot be charged with a crime.
Similarly, in his final report, Mueller emphasized he was acting under the belief he was unable to charge the president so he did not reach a determination for what legal recourse ought to be taken.
Congressional Democrats took these comments as a passing of the investigation from the special counsel to congressional committees and some members are pressing Pelosi to initiate the impeachment process.
Pelosi addressed these inquiries during a press conference after the closed-door meeting. Politico reports:
Note: The author of this article has included commentary that expresses an opinion and analysis of the facts.
During a press conference afterward, Pelosi’s opposition to impeachment appeared to soften, although she still won’t endorse the idea.
“If we have a case for impeachment, that’s the place we will have to go. Why I’d like it to be a strong case is because it’s based on the facts — the facts and the law, that’s what matters,” Pelosi told reporters while showing no signs of her disagreement with Nadler, who stood next to her.
“The stronger our case is, the worse the Senate will look for just letting the president off the hook.”
Pelosi added that Democrats’ investigations are “not endless in terms of time.”
“If it comes to a point where the cone of silence and the obstruction of justice and the coverup in the White House prevents us from getting that information, that will not prevent us from going forward and in fact, it’s even more grounds to go forward,” Pelosi said.
“Today was a watershed day in telling the facts to the American people. With those facts, we can proceed. And we face a time of great danger,” Nadler added. “This cannot go on. And it’s up to Congress to safeguard the Constitution and we will do it.”