Impeaching President Donald Trump is an issue incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has not ruled out pursuing, she said in an interview released Thursday.
Pelosi was interviewed by Savannah Guthrie of NBC’s “Today” show as she prepared to reprise her role as speaker now that the Democrats have regained control of the House. Republicans still hold a majority in the Senate.
Pelosi said that even though Justice Department guidelines make it unlikely special counsel Robert Mueller will try to indict Trump, she does not want to take impeachment off the table.
“I do not think that that is conclusive,” Pelosi said of the guidance.
She would rather keep impeachment talk bubbling, she said.
“I think that that is an open discussion. I think that is an open discussion in terms of the law,” Pelosi said, according to Today.
“We have to wait and see what happens with the Mueller report. We shouldn’t be impeaching for a political reason, and we shouldn’t avoid impeachment for a political reason. So we’ll just have to see how it comes,” she said.
Pelosi said that Democrats plan to keep going after Trump even after he leaves the White House.
“Everything indicates that a president can be indicted after he is no longer president,” she said.
Pelosi’s stance has changed since last year. In 2017, she said impeachment was “not someplace that I think we should go,” Politico reported.
However, impeachment talk revved up once Democrats took power in November’s midterm elections.
Steve Okun, a senior adviser at the consulting firm McLarty Associates, told CNBC that Democrats have all but ensured the issue is alive.
“Democrats will do something on impeachment next year,” he said last month, noting that New York Democratic Rep. Jerry Nadler, incoming chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, has talked of impeachment in connection with payments to women who claimed they had affairs with Trump.
“Whether the Democrats will impeach Trump, he didn’t say, but he said he committed impeachable offenses and that came with the hush money cover-up and certainly can come with the obstruction of justice with the Mueller report comes out,” Okun said.
Democratic Rep. Jim McGovern of Massachusetts said that although Democrats will be coming after Trump, impeachment might be too far to reach.
“On the issue of impeachment, that has to be a bipartisan decision,” he told WBUR-FM. “I don’t want to spend a lot of time focusing on impeachment.”
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