House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made some news Monday afternoon by announcing she does not support impeaching President Donald Trump at this time, despite thinking that he’s unfit for the highest office in the United States.
The surprising message was made public after a Washington Post magazine article interview by Joe Heim was completed Monday.
“I’m not for impeachment,” Pelosi said. “This is news. I’m going to give you some news right now because I haven’t said this to any press person before.
“But since you asked, and I’ve been thinking about this: Impeachment is so divisive to the country that unless there’s something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan, I don’t think we should go down that path, because it divides the country. And he’s just not worth it.”
This is the first definitive statement she has made on the subject and one that stands to alienate members of her own Democratic Party who are intent on ousting the president.
Pelosi said she does not believe Trump is up for the job of running the country. Asked if he was fit to be president, she countered, “Are we talking ethically? Intellectually? Politically? What are we talking here?” she asked. “I mean, ethically unfit. Intellectually unfit. Curiosity-wise unfit. No, I don’t think he’s fit to be president of the United States.”
The apparent contradiction shows that Pelosi is well aware of the political risks of impeachment and how pursuit of the president could energize Republican voters ahead of the 2020 election.
Still, her comments will almost certainly infuriate the far-left wing of the party, which has been clamoring to begin impeachment proceedings over controversies ensnaring the Trump administration.
Most House Democrats agree that they should give the chairmen of investigative committees the space to conduct their probes before engaging in serious impeachment proceedings.
Pelosi’s suggestion that she doesn’t support those moves at all because “he’s just not worth it” won’t sit well with some of her caucus.
Her comments come one week after the House Judiciary Committee, the panel with jurisdiction over impeachment discussions, issued document requests to 81 people and entities affiliated with Trump’s administration, campaign and businesses.
Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., the chairman of the committee, called the requests the first step in a larger probe into obstruction of justice and abuses of power by the president.
Meanwhile, other committees in the House are beginning probes of campaign-time contributions that Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen made to silence women alleging affairs with the president as well as Trump’s plans to build a tower in Moscow and how he managed his private company.
Many politicians in Washington believe the documents from the special counsel’s unit run by Robert Mueller III may be moved to the attorney general’s office in the near future.
If some of the findings prove that there are other questionable activities in Trump’s past, there is the possibility that the Democrats would move forward on the impeachment proceedings.
But the timing of the documents’ movement from the special counsel’s office is not known yet.