House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Thursday that she believes President Donald Trump “every day gives grounds for impeachment,” while at the same time arguing that she doesn’t want to impeach, though she did not rule out the possibility.
“I think the President every day gives grounds for impeachment in terms of his obstruction of justice. You never say, blanketly, I’m not answering any subpoenas,” Pelosi said at an event hosted by the Georgetown University Law Center, an apparent reference to comments Trump made last month saying “We’re fighting all the subpoenas.”
The remarks were similar to comments Pelosi has made previously suggesting that the President, by his own actions, is effectively building a case for his own impeachment.
But Pelosi also said at the event, “Now I don’t want to impeach,” adding, “I want them to give us the information before they have to spend too much money on lawyers. No offense,” a remark that met with laughter in the crowd.
Tensions between House Democrats and the Trump administration escalated further this week when the White House rejected a request for documents from the House Judiciary Committee in its sweeping investigation into possible obstruction of justice.
House Democrats argue that they have a constitutional responsibility to exercise oversight of the President, while Trump and his allies argue that the investigations led by Democrats are politically motivated and designed to target the President for partisan reasons.
During her weekly news conference earlier in the day on Thursday, Pelosi called the letter rejecting the House Judiciary Committee’s request “outrageous” and a “joke.”
Pelosi declined to say whether she supports imposing fines on individuals who defy congressional subpoenas, but reiterated that “nothing is off the table” when asked about that possibility during the press conference.
“I’m not saying we are going down that path, I’m just saying that it is not to be excluded, nothing is off the table,” Pelosi said.
House Democratic leaders have consistently downplayed talk of impeachment since Democrats took over the lower chamber of Congress. But as the standoff with the White House continues, some Democratic lawmakers have argued that the President’s actions are pushing them closer to impeachment.
In her remarks at the Georgetown event, Pelosi reiterated that impeachment would be divisive for the country, but also defended the right of the Democratic majority to investigate the administration.
“We have a path where we are investigating, exercising our constitutional responsibility to have oversight and also our constitutional responsibility as a separate branch of government to hold the other branch accountable predicated on the fact that no person is above the law, not even the President of the United States,” she said.
“This isn’t about passion, it’s not about prejudice, it’s not about politics, it’s about the presentation of the facts. It’s about patriotism and wherever that path takes us, we cannot resist,” Pelosi said, “but on the other hand we have to exhaust every other remedy on the way.”
By Clare Foran and Ashley Killough, CNN