House speaker Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday that she has not yet ruled out the possibility of opening an impeachment inquiry against President Trump, but stipulated that she would only do so if the case was sufficiently compelling to convince congressional Republicans to turn on the administration.
Addressing her constituents at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco, Pelosi responded to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Wednesday press conference by reiterating her commitment to only pursue impeachment on an irrefutable, bipartisan basis.
“Many constituents want to impeach the president. But we want to do what is right and what gets results. What gets results,” Pelosi said. “But we do want to make such a compelling case, such an ironclad case that even the Republican Senate would — at this time [it] seems to be not an objective jury — will be convinced of the path that we have to take as a country.”
Mueller, in his first public remarks since being appointed more than two years ago, emphasized the limitations placed on him by Department of Justice guidelines that prohibit the indictment of a sitting president, and suggested Congress must now determine whether the president’s attempts to obstruct his investigation warrant further censure.
“If we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so,” Mr. Mueller said, reading from prepared notes behind a lectern at the Justice Department. “We did not, however, make a determination as to whether the president did commit a crime.”
In response, a number of prominent 2020 Democratic presidential aspirants reiterated their calls for impeachment, arguing that Mueller’s Wednesday remarks served as an implicit instruction to pursue that course of action.
Pelosi and Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer have long resisted their colleagues’ calls to begin impeachment proceedings, believing that doing so would unnecessarily inflame partisan divisions and potentially deprive the American people of an opportunity to rebuke Trump in 2020. They maintained that posture Wednesday in their respective written statements despite the urging of the party’s presidential contenders.