Law & the Courts

Pelosi Claims Trump ‘Is Engaged in a Cover Up’

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks during a press briefing on Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C., January 17, 2019. (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

Following a Wednesday morning meeting in which House Democrats shared their thoughts on how to address President Trump’s stonewalling of congressional oversight efforts, Speaker Nancy Pelosi stopped short of endorsing impeachment but publicly accused the president of engaging in a “cover up.”

“We do believe that it’s important to follow the facts. We believe that no one is above the law, including the president of the United States. And we believe that the president of the United States is engaged in a cover up, and that was the nature of the meeting,” Pelosi told reporters on Capitol Hill.

Pelosi held the meeting Wednesday morning to corral a caucus that is increasingly scattered on the question of impeachment.

In the wake of former White House counsel Don McGahn’s refusal to appear Monday before the House Judiciary Committee, a number of prominent Democrats, including some members of Pelosi’s leadership team, joined their younger, more progressive colleagues in calling for Trump’s impeachment. They are joined by just one Republican, Representative Justin Amash of Michigan, who cemented his gadfly reputation over the weekend by breaking ranks with his party.

In addition to the unwillingness of Attorney General William Barr and McGahn to comply with House subpoenas, the administration has refused to comply with Democrats’ subpoena-backed demands for documents, including Trump’s tax returns and other information related to their investigation of whether the president sought to obstruct Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

Influential Democrats such as Oversight and Reform Committee chairman Elijah Cummings (D., Md.) and Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff have begun to inch closer toward calling for impeachment in response to the administration’s intransigence.

“I think what the president has done has put us in a position where we cannot get any information to do the oversight that we need to do. And that basically ties our hands and makes us, with regard to oversight, powerless,” Cummings said Tuesday on CNN.

“The question now becomes: Do we allow this to continue? And where do we end up if we do that? That is the question,” he added. “And I’m still mulling it over and talking to my colleagues when I get on the floor in a few minutes. But I’m getting there.”

During the meeting, Pelosi reportedly planned to respond to those calls by urging her colleagues to exercise caution and remain committed to their present strategy of compelling the administration to submit to oversight through the courts.

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