Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi lashed out at reporters on Thursday after she was repeatedly pressed for clarification on where she is leading the Democratic caucus regarding impeaching President Donald Trump.
“[The American people] understand that impeachment is a very divisive measure, but if we have to go there, we’ll have to go there, but we can’t go there unless we have the facts, and we’ll follow the facts and we will follow the obstruction that the president is making … and make a decision when we’re ready,” Pelosi said during her weekly briefing with reporters. “That’s the only thing I’m going to say about this subject and there’s nothing different from one day to the next – we’re still on our same path.”
After a second reporter confronted Pelosi about the party’s mixed messages, the visibly agitated House Speaker praised the work of the House Judiciary Committee and contended that House Democrats were working in the interest of the American people.
“I have said what I’m going to say on the subject, that’s it,” Pelosi said. “We are legislating, we are focusing on the work that we’re here to do for the American people, and part of our responsibility is to honor our oath of office to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in doing so we are getting and seeking the facts.”
“I’m not answering any more questions on this subject. That is what we have said all along that is what we continue to do,” she continued. “And again, in the American public, when I go out there, people are saying it is good to be careful about how we proceed. And when we make a decision about this, whatever it may be, we want the American people to respect that we were careful.”
Pelosi’s remarks come after the Democratic-led House Judiciary Committee approved a procedural resolution setting up the groundwork for the formal advancement of impeachment hearings.
More than half of the Democratic caucus in the House of Representatives have voiced support for opening an impeachment inquiry. Pelosi, however, has been reluctant to embrace her caucus’ demands, even as the calls to do so grow louder. Democrats largely gained the majority in the House after a wave of the party’s moderates were elected in purple Congressional Districts during the 2018 midterm election cycle.
With the 2020 election on the horizon, Pelosi, as well as many of the Democratic Party’s moderates, fear that voters’ distaste for impeachment could put the majority back in the hands of Republicans.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler also sought to clear up confusion earlier in the day, explaining that the panel is “engaged in an investigation as to whether to launch an impeachment investigation into President Trump.”
Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA), the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, criticized Democrats for the decision, arguing that the move to continue an impeachment push was solely to score political points.
“[Nadler] is trying to pull a fast one on the American people again. They know they don’t have the votes to go for a full, formal impeachment inquiry,” Collins said. “They want to continue to put a false narrative out there … it’s really become a pitiful scene.”