Nancy Pelosi

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House Democrats, under the leadership of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., are slowly marching themselves toward the opening of an impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump. What seemed out of the question earlier in the year now seems, if not inevitable, increasingly difficult to resist.

Pelosi will not say anything like that at this point. She will continue to try to communicate to both sides of her divided party, nodding to hard-liners by suggesting that Trump’s actions constitute potentially impeachable offenses while bowing to vulnerable members in swing districts by speaking cautiously about impeachment itself.

“We’re not at that place,” Pelosi said at a Thursday news conference, when the question of impeachment came up. That caution came after she noted that the investigations currently underway in the House could lead to “a place that is unavoidable in terms of impeachment.” She also asserted that the White house “is just crying out” for impeachment, which she likely sees as a trap.

Trump has certainly put the Democrats in a difficult position. His past actions to disrupt and interfere with the investigation of special counsel Robert Mueller are spelled out in detail in Mueller’s report. Attorney General William Barr has said the evidence does not constitute obstruction of justice. Others strongly disagree, including many House Democrats who want to hear more about those episodes.

Beyond the contents of the Mueller report and what they say about the question of obstruction, the administration has further inflamed things by blocking virtually all requests from congressional committees for documents for investigations into various Trump-related matters. The president also ordered former White House counsel Donald McGahn not to testify before the House Judiciary Committee. When McGahn defied a subpoena from the committee, chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., threatened to hold a vote to hold him in contempt.

The administration’s resistance has put before Pelosi and other House leaders the question of whether an administration can indefinitely stonewall the legislative branch with impunity, a question with constitutional and practical significance for this and future presidencies. The time for an answer might still be premature, given current legal proceedings. But as Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., put it during a CNN town hall last month, “There is no political inconvenience exception to the United States Constitution.”

The politics of impeachment remain fraught. Many Democrats still believe the party should focus all its energies on the 2020 election and seek to deny the president a second term through the ballot box. That’s a far cleaner remedy than the high stakes of an impeachment proceeding that would die in the Senate if it reached fruition in the House.

But for Democrats, there is no guarantee of victory in the 2020 election. For all his vulnerabilities, Trump presides over a strong economy and enjoys the power of incumbency, which he is prepared to use to the fullest. Few Democrats are unduly optimistic about victory in 2020, despite the party’s strong performance in the 2018 midterm elections and signs of continued energy by the same kinds of voters who helped deliver that election outcome. The Democrats remain scarred by what happened in 2016.

Pelosi knows that public opinion overall is not on the side of the Democrats. A majority of Americans continue to oppose impeachment. But public opinion among Democrats is in a different place. That’s why a number of candidates for the Democratic nomination have expressed their support for at least the opening of an inquiry. It’s a popular position with the base.

Pelosi can play both sides only for so long. At some point, she and her committee chairs will have to make a decision. That may not be for months, given the legal machinery now clanking along. She will try to keep deferring an ultimate decision, but the consequences of acting or not acting become more pressing as time passes.

Pelosi and Trump continue to circle one another with taunts and insults. Pelosi criticized Trump for abruptly walking out of a meeting with congressional leaders on infrastructure on Wednesday at the Oval Office, after she had accused him of a coverup during a meeting with her own troops. Pelosi on Thursday said the president could benefit from a “leave of absence” and perhaps needs “an intervention, for the good of the country” by family or staff.

Trump responded on Thursday by polling his staff at a news conference, asking them to explain to reporters that he wasn’t angry or intemperate when he walked out of the meeting with Pelosi and other congressional leaders. It was an extraordinary display on the part of a president. Trump called himself a “stable genius.” He said the speaker is a “different person” than the leader he began dealing with earlier. He called her “crazy Nancy.” He said, “She’s lost it.”

Such is the state of the relationship between the president and the most powerful Democrat in the country.

Pelosi bested Trump earlier in the year during the government shutdown when she called his bluff and forced him to reopen agencies without giving him funding for his border wall. He responded later by declaring a national emergency to allow him to take the money from other funds in the Defense Department.

In this latest standoff, each has pushed the other into a corner. Pelosi certainly knows how to provoke the president, as she demonstrated again the past few days. But his defiance of Congress has left her with the most difficult of choices, for the country and for her party.

Trump is pushing the country toward a constitutional crisis – many believe it is already here. His actions have riled the Democrats on Capitol Hill and generated anger in the party’s base. Pelosi is now buffeted as she weighs what to do. Sliding into impeachment is hardly the preferred choice, but can she resist the political forces inside her party that are pushing in that direction?

The speaker plays a long game. As Trump has learned, she is shrewd, tough and experienced. Still, the coming test over impeachment could be the most difficult of her career.

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US President Donald Trump is daring opponents to initiate proceedings against him — but Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is leading the charge against impeachment

US President Donald Trump is daring opponents to initiate proceedings against him — but Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is leading the charge against impeachment (AFP Photo/SAUL LOEB, Jim WATSON)

Washington (AFP) – US President Donald Trump doubled down Friday on his claim of an “attempted coup” against him as his battle with Democratic foes entered a vicious new phase of personal insults and strong-arm tactics.

Hovering over it all: the looming question of whether or not the Republican leader will be impeached — “the big I-word,” as Trump put it recently.

The president said he has given his attorney general wide latitude to declassify intelligence information as he probes the origins of the government’s investigation into Trump’s 2016 campaign ties to Russia.

“They will be able to see … how the hoax or witch hunt started and why it started,” he told reporters as he departed on a trip to Japan. “It was an attempted coup or an attempted takedown of the president of the United States.”

“There’s word and rumor that the FBI and others were involved, CIA were involved with the UK, having to do with the Russian hoax,” he said, adding that he might talk to the outgoing British Prime Minister Theresa May about it.

“We’re exposing everything,” he added.

Trump’s bid to turn the tables on his political opponents comes amid an escalating constitutional clash of powers with the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives.

House Democratic leaders have launched numerous probes aimed at getting evidence gathered during Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s 22-month probe into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign — only to be stonewalled by the White House.

That has raised calls by Democrats to initiate impeachment proceedings against Trump.

In an odd turn however, it has been House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Trump’s congressional nemesis, who has pumped the brakes on impeachment — even as she accuses the president of a potentially impeachable cover-up.

The president, for his part, is daring his opponents to initiate proceedings against him — confident that an impeachment by the House would most certainly be blocked in the Republican-controlled Senate.

“‘If they try to Impeach President Trump, who has done nothing wrong (No Collusion), they will end up getting him re-elected,'” the president wrote Friday, approvingly retweeting a warning to Democrats by a fellow Republican, Senator Lindsey Graham.

– Cutting words –

Trump, meanwhile, is pulling out the stops in the fight for political supremacy as the country heads toward the 2020 presidential election.

On Thursday, he gave Attorney General William Barr sweeping and unprecedented new authorities to investigate the investigators of his 2016 campaign’s ties to Russia — directing all US intelligence agencies to “quickly and fully cooperate” with Barr’s review.

The intelligence agencies had previously rebuffed, on national security grounds, declassification demands by Republican lawmakers seeking to spotlight alleged misdeeds by investigators.

As pressure mounts, a cutting war of words has erupted between Trump and Pelosi, with each questioning the other’s mental stability.

On Friday, Trump posted a video of Pelosi remarks that had been edited to mash up instances in which she stumbled over her words.

Asked why he was attacking her personally, Trump bristled: “Did you hear what she said about me long before I went after her?”

“She said terrible things, so I just responded in kind. Look, you think Nancy is the same as she was? She’s not,” he said.

On Thursday, speaking to a room full of farmers and ranchers who had been invited to the White House for an unrelated event on China tariffs, Trump said Pelosi — the most senior female politician in American history — was “a mess.”

Pelosi had spent the previous few days needling Trump, claiming he threw a “temper tantrum” during a meeting with Democrats, saying she would “pray” for him, and suggesting those close to him should stage an “intervention.”

“She’s obviously gotten under the president’s skin,” House Democrat Ro Khanna told CNN.

Where this goes from here is unclear — although there is an opportunity to lower the political temperature, with Trump off to Japan and Pelosi out of Washington next week on a holiday recess.

Pelosi must contend with a restless Democratic caucus that is divided over whether or not to impeach the president.

Progressives including Maryland congressman Jamie Raskin have argued that, in the face of White House stonewalling, the time has come to begin impeachment proceedings.

Raskin argued recently that this would consolidate the varied House inquiries in a single centralized process that would have greater standing in the inevitable court battles to come.

But Pelosi also must consider the impact of what she said would be a “very divisive” impeachment battle on some 30 vulnerable Democrats in districts carried by Trump.

Their loss in the next election could threaten her party’s hold on the House, which puts Pelosi at a fateful crossroads.

WASHINGTON – To many Democrats, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi scored a political victory over President Donald Trump this week, making him so incensed that he hurled insults at her and blew up negotiations on the one issue that held the promise of a rare bipartisan deal – infrastructure.

To the president’s allies, a weakened Pelosi, D-Calif., needed to mollify her fractious Democratic caucus, with a growing number demanding that she launch an impeachment inquiry, a move that would give the president a fresh argument that he was a victim of overzealous Democrats incapable of legislating and only interested in investigations.

Taking stock of the feud, each side insisted they got the upper hand in a fight that shows no sign of waning 18 months before the 2020 elections, with implications for the economy as the budget and federal borrowing limit remain unresolved while the dispute over oversight between the White House and Congress rages.


Pelosi’s allies said she showed up the president and reinforced an image of a chief executive behaving so badly and childishly that he is unfit for office – a clear message to voters next year. But to Trump’s backers, the president succeeded in highlighting that an already unpopular politician is struggling not only with the far-left liberals in the Democratic ranks, but even some on her leadership team.

“She has very challenging dynamics in her conference, and she’s trying to appease her conference,” said Marc Short, chief of staff to Vice President Mike Pence. “She has a very difficult job.”

Some White House aides also said it was better for Trump to be fighting with Pelosi than former vice president Joe Biden or other 2020 candidates, as the president has done recently, elevating their status.

For Trump and Pelosi, the series of salvos was a break from past practices. Trump has derided other politicians with nicknames, but refrained from mocking Pelosi, the most powerful woman in Democratic politics. During the 2018 midterm election, the speaker had instructed Democratic candidates to focus on health care, education and other issues rather than on Trump, who was not on the ballot. The strategy, which she also adopted, paid off as the party reclaimed the House majority.

Pelosi’s allies said her taunting of Trump now is intentional, designed to get under his skin and elicit an angry reaction, according to officials close to her who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private deliberations. She contended that his resistance to investigations was to goad her members to back impeachment, which would undermine her party.

Emerging from a special closed-door caucus meeting on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, Pelosi took the unusual step of speaking to reporters and in front of television cameras, accusing Trump of “engaging in a coverup” in response to congressional subpoenas.

At the White House a short time later, Trump angrily walked out of a meeting with Pelosi and other Democrats on infrastructure after three minutes. The president told reporters in remarks in the Rose Garden that he could not work with Democrats until they “get these phony investigations over with” and argued that special counsel Robert Mueller’s nearly two-year investigation had cleared him of any wrongdoing.

Back on Capitol Hill, Pelosi and the Democrats kept up their criticism, with the speaker suggesting Trump’s possible “lack of confidence” prevented him from reaching a deal on infrastructure and saying she prayed for the president.

Pelosi wrote of Trump’s “temper tantrum” in a letter to colleagues Wednesday afternoon, and the next day was relentless in her attacks, suggesting his White House aides and family “should stage an intervention for the good of the country.”

Hours later, Trump called her “crazy Nancy” at a White House event on aid to farmers, impugned her mental clarity and intelligence and pressed aides to attest to his calmness during the meeting the previous day. He later tweeted a spliced video that made her appear confused.

White House aides say Trump was more frustrated by the “coverup” comment than her Thursday commentary likening him to a toddler. He flew into a rage Wednesday morning after she made those remarks – and then stewed as she continued to taunt him from Capitol Hill. The aides spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private talks.

Pelosi’s allies insist the events left Trump as the one to blame for the failure to reach a deal on infrastructure, as he had taken responsibility in advance for the government shutdown in an Oval Office meeting with Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., in December.

When the shutdown – the longest in history – ended earlier this year after 35 days, Pelosi was seen as the winner in the standoff.

“The speaker knows how to use power,” said longtime Pelosi ally Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Calif. “She knows who. She knows how. She’s a master negotiator. . . . I think the president is really befuddled by her.”

Her allies argued that his angry reaction feeds the narrative of an erratic president.

“The more unhinged he looks, the better it is for us,” said one senior House Democratic aide, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss the matter. “We want to govern, and he’s the crazy man.”

Trump’s proponents pushed back.

“She talks about him like he’s incompetent. It’s totally ridiculous,” said Rudy Giuliani, the president’s lawyer. “You may not like him, you may despise him, but there’s no question he is mentally and physically capable to do the job.”

As for Pelosi, Giuliani said she is “not exactly the most articulate person in the world. The last couple of weeks, she’s been talking funny. I’ve noticed it, and a lot of other people have noticed it.”

Until recently, Trump was telling advisers that he wanted to reach a deal on infrastructure and had even talked to the trucking industry about a gas tax to help finance upgrades to the nation’s roads, bridges and tunnels. He also telephoned Pelosi to tell her how good her television coverage was after the two of them huddled to discuss infrastructure three weeks ago.

Trump, who has long admired Pelosi and showered her with compliments for her grip on her caucus, also recently told West Wing aides how tough she is – and how she keeps her party in line with an iron fist. “She has some real crazies,” he said recently to an adviser, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations.

Privately, Pelosi repeatedly has said Trump is not worth impeaching. When a Democrat compared Trump to a fifth-grader, Pelosi responded that such a remark was an insult to fifth-graders, according to an individual who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the conversation.

“Don’t say that. Children are wonderful!” said the mother of five and grandmother of nine.

Pelosi managed to tamp down the clamor for impeachment from an increasing number of Democrats, arguing that Trump would welcome the move and an acquittal vote in the Republican-led Senate. For now, the talk of impeachment has quieted.

“She was trying to throw a little red meat to her caucus right before they headed home to the long recess,” said David Urban, a Trump ally who worked on the 2016 campaign and the GOP convention. “And Pelosi, who is usually a masterful politician, misjudged the president’s reaction. She made a statement that overplayed her hand. Now we’re going to be at some place of an impasse we haven’t seen before.”

Fights loom in coming months between the White House and Congress on legislation to keep the government running and raising the nation’s borrowing authority. Against that backdrop, the two sides are bitterly divided over investigations.

WASHINGTON — Sometimes, as the light comes in my bedroom window and I start to wake up, my mind drifts to other things.

I think about how talented Phoebe Waller-Bridge is, with her two mordant shows, “Killing Eve” and “Fleabag.” I think about how cool it will be to see Idris Elba resume his role as a world-weary London homicide detective in “Luther.” I think about what a harrowing tale Patrick Radden Keefe has woven in “Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland.”

But once I’m completely awake, a gravitational pull takes hold and I am once more bedeviled by our preposterous president.

I flip on the TV and gird for the endless stream of vitriol coming from the White House, bracing for another day of overflowing, overlapping, overwrought news stories about Trump. I’m sapped before I rise.

As Mayor Pete said on his Fox town hall about the national Trump preoccupation, “It is the nature of grotesque things that you can’t look away.”

My head hurts, puzzling over whether Trump is just a big blowhard who’s flailing around, or a sinister genius laying traps to get himself impeached to animate the base ahead of the election.

A minute ago, we were fixated on the half of the Mueller report that vividly details how Trump tried to shut down and hinder the Mueller investigation. But now the president has triggered the media’s shock collar, so everyone is fixated on how he gave William Barr vast new powers to use the intelligence agencies to investigate the investigators.

Just as Trump once wore out contractors, bankers, lawyers and businesspeople in New York with his combative, insulting and wayward ways, now he’s wearing out the political crowd, as he tries to beat everybody here into submission with his daily, even hourly, onslaught of outrage piled upon outrage.

Journalists must not become inured to Trump’s outlandish, transgressive behavior. Mitch McConnell, Barr and almost everyone else in the G.O.P. have made themselves numb to his abhorrent actions because of self-interest.

But for those who are concerned about the scarring of the American psyche, it’s exhausting to find the vocabulary to keep explaining, over and over, how beyond the pale and out of the norm the 45th president is.

How do you ratchet up from “remarkable,” “extraordinary,” “unprecedented”?

What words can you use about someone who considers pardoning war criminals on Memorial Day? Who wants to make it simpler for adoption agencies to bar same-sex couples? Who circumvents Congress to complete arms deals to benefit the same Saudis who are clearly culpable in the case of the dismembered Washington Post columnist?

Pete Buttigieg and Nancy Pelosi have both mastered the art of puncturing Trump — far better than his Republican primary debate rivals did.

“I don’t have a problem standing up to somebody who was working on Season 7 of ‘Celebrity Apprentice’ when I was packing my bags for Afghanistan,” Buttigieg told The Post’s Robert Costa, saying he took a dim view of Trump’s bone-spurs excuse to get out of serving in Vietnam.

Pelosi winds Trump up when she drips condescension worthy of a Jane Austen grande dame, saying she will pray for the president or pleading for someone to stage an intervention with the poor soul.

After Pelosi remarked that the president was engaged in a cover-up, Trump dynamited his own meeting with “Crazy Nancy,” as he called her. His I’m not crazy, you’re crazy rebuttal to Pelosi echoed his I’m not a puppet, you’re a puppet line to Hillary Clinton during the debate.

Trump tweeted a video of Pelosi that was manipulated to make her look as if she were slurring her words.

“Well, I don’t know about the videos,” the president told reporters as he left on his trip to Japan.

“He does outrageous, nasty, destructive things, knowing full well he’s crossing a line, and then he pretends he didn’t,” said Trump biographer Tim O’Brien. “He has spent five decades going to gossip columnists, radio shows, TV interviews and newspapers to stick a knife into almost anybody who crosses his path that he doesn’t like and he revels in it. There is something amazing in the Energizer Bunny aspect of his nastiness and his ignorance. He doesn’t care what people think about how mean or dumb he is. He just keeps going.”

O’Brien said Pelosi “hit on something that is core to his con. His whole life is about the cover-up. He has covered up his academic record, his health reports, his dalliances with women, his finances, his family history. Even while he was saying he was the most transparent president in history, his Treasury secretary was across town telling Congress, ‘I’m not giving you the president’s tax returns.’

“One of the biggest motivating factors in Trump’s life — other than food, greed, sex and revenge — is mythmaking. Deep down, he knows he’s a pathological liar and he’s not the person he says he is. But any time anyone pierces that veil, it sends him into a rage.”

It’s wearing, not letting this petulant man wear us all out.

President Trump attempted to extend an olive branch to Democrats in the midst of a growing feud between Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

“I can work with the speaker, sure,” he told reporters gathered on the South Lawn of the White House Friday. “I can work with the speaker. I can absolutely work” with her.

Trump said Democrats would have to move past their anger over the conclusion of the Mueller investigation, however, before they could work together on bipartisan legislation for issues such as infrastructure and prescription drug costs.

“They were very unhappy with the Mueller report,” Trump said. “No collusion. No obstruction. No nothing. They’re very unhappy about it. They have to get over their anger.”

Trump and Pelosi have been exchanging barbs since Wednesday, when Pelosi accused the president of engaging in a cover-up and Trump responded by abruptly leaving an infrastructure meeting with top Democrats.

The president said then he was not willing to work on infrastructure with Democrats until they dropped their investigations.

“I walked into the room and I told Sen. Schumer, Speaker Pelosi, ‘I want to do infrastructure. I want to do it more than you want to do it. I would be really good at that. That’s what I do. But you know what? You can’t do it under these circumstances. So get these phony investigations over with,'” he said during a press conference following the failed meeting.


‘ivesssapology for a video’: Rudy Giuliani tweets bizarre slurred non-apology to Nancy Pelosi for tweeting fake video of her appearing incoherent then demands SHE withdraw demand for ‘intervention’ on Trump

  • Bizarre tweet from Rudy Giuliani included a slurred-speech word that made some Twitter users speculate that he was drinking
  • He was offering a backhanded non-apology to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for circulating a fake, edited video of her 
  • The mashup of footage from a Pelosi speech on Thursday was slowed down to make her words sound slurred
  • ‘ivesssapology for a video,’ Giuliani tweeted in a message that ended in the middle of a sentence; he later tweeted the same thoughts again
  • The first tweet included a GIF of NBA basketball players that he didn’t explain 

Rudy Giuliani stoked concerns about his well-being Friday morning with a tweet containing a backhanded apology to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for circulating a fake video ofher appearing incoherent during public events.

‘ivesssapology for a video which is allegedly is a caricature of an otherwise halting speech pattern,’ tweeted Giuliani, one of President Donald Trump‘s personal lawyers. 

‘[S]he should first stop, and apologize for, saying the President needs an “intervention.” Are’

The tweet ended there, leading some on Twitter to speculate that Giuliani was drunk in the 9:00 a.m. hour. 

It’s unclear whether his opening word, a slurred-speech mashup, was itself a parody of the video that journalists debunked as a fraud on Thursday.

Trump lawyer Rudi Giuliani tweeted a pair of messages at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Friday including one that featured the typed equivalent of slurred speech and a cryptic basketball GIF

Trump lawyer Rudi Giuliani tweeted a pair of messages at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Friday including one that featured the typed equivalent of slurred speech and a cryptic basketball GIF

Giuliani's first tweet began with an unintelligible word and ended mid-sentence, driving speculation online that he might have been drinking

Giuliani’s first tweet began with an unintelligible word and ended mid-sentence, driving speculation online that he might have been drinking

Giuliani, a former New York City mayor, tweeted a replacement message without erasing the first, and hasn't explained the basketball video snippet

Giuliani, a former New York City mayor, tweeted a replacement message without erasing the first, and hasn’t explained the basketball video snippet

Giuliani did not respond to a request for comment on Friday.

He also included a GIF image of players from an NBA team putting their hands in the air, a motion signifying a 3-point shot. He didn’t explain its significance.

A half-hour later he tweeted again, this time in words that sounded lucid and forceful, to make the same point.  

‘Nancy Pelosi wants an apology for a caricature exaggerating her already halting speech pattern,’ he wrote. ‘First she should withdraw her charge which hurts our entire nation when she says the President needs an “intervention. “People who live in a glass house shouldn’t throw stones.”’

Giuliani never deleted his earlier mangled tweet.

The former New York City mayor was pilloried online Thursday for sharing the faked video of Pelosi, which included slow-motion footage that made her words sounds slurred – and made her appear drunk. 

Giuliani shared a faked video of Pelosi slurring her speech on Thursday with his 316,000 Twitter followers

Giuliani shared a faked video of Pelosi slurring her speech on Thursday with his 316,000 Twitter followers

The original video came from Pelosi’s remarks on Wednesday at the Center for American Progress Ideas Conference, where she spoke about President Donald Trump walking out of an infrastructure meeting with Democrats earlier that day.

The altered version was posted by Politics WatchDog – a conservative group on Facebook – and quickly went viral.

Giuliani later shared the altered clip on Twitter, writing: ‘What is wrong with Nancy Pelosi? Her speech pattern is bizarre’.

He deleted that tweet 15 minutes later, after Twitter users pointed out that it had been doctored.

Two hours later, Giuliani tweeted a message about the Mueller report that began: ‘How do the Dems get away with their dishonesty?’  

Pelosi was the target of the misinformation campaign when a video of her speaking on stage was altered to make it appear she was slurring her words

Pelosi was the target of the misinformation campaign when a video of her speaking on stage was altered to make it appear she was slurring her words

Washington Post analysis found the video he shared had been slowed to about 75 percent of its original speed. 

It also appears that the sound of Pelosi’s voice was changed so the slowed speech would not deeped the pitch of her voice.  

Trump later tweeted a different video, a mashup of Pelosi stumbling over her words during the speech, tweeting: “PELOSI STAMMERS THROUGH NEWS CONFERENCE”.’

That video did not include altered segments. 

Sen. Lindsey Graham warned Democrats if they don’t stop attacking President Trump they won’t stand a chance at beating him in the 2020 presidential election.

“The Democrats are going to get him reelected,” Graham, R-S.C., said Friday on Fox News. “I don’t think you can become the nominee of the Democratic Party without embracing impeachment. And if you’re a House member of the Democratic caucus, you’re going to get a primary if you vote against impeachment.”

Congressional Democrats have increased their scrutiny of Trump in recent weeks, launching investigations into his 2016 campaign, finances, and personal life.

Democratic leadership has tamped down talks of impeachment, suggesting the House investigations should be allowed to play out and if evidence supporting impeachment is uncovered, the party will pursue it.

Trump is “crying out” for impeachment, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said this week.

Trump and allies like Graham have pointed instead to special counsel Robert Mueller’s report as the final word on Trump’s personal conduct and fitness for office.

A recent cover of the New Yorker magazine depicted Graham, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Attorney General William Barr giving Trump a shoeshine.

The suggested message is that leading Republicans are doing the president’s bidding and helping cover up his abuses of power in the White House.

“If I’m helping the president, good for me, I want him to succeed,” Graham said Friday on Fox News. “If I’m helping the president it’s good for the country because I think I’ve got something to offer him. He’s doing a really good job.”

The South Carolina senator has not always spoken so favorably about the president.

As they ran against one another in the 2016 Republican primary, Graham called Trump a “jackass” after the Trump campaign released Graham’s private phone number.

Graham has shifted his focus to alleged corruption present in the FBI and Department of Justice leading up to the 2016 election.

He and other leading Republicans have railed against a “deep state” that sought to undermine Trump and help Hillary Clinton.

“They are driving the Democratic Party over an edge,” Graham said of progressive Democrats. “Between what Trump has accomplished for this country and how crazy they’ve become, he’s gonna get reelected.”

A House Republican blocked the passage of a $19.1 billion disaster relief package that lawmakers hoped to send to President Trump’s desk after months of partisan fighting had stalled the money.

Final passage will now have to wait until the week of June 3, when House lawmakers return from a recess.

Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, opposed passing the measure by unanimous consent, delaying consideration until the House returns.

Democrats hoped to approve the spending measure by unanimous consent, which does not require a roll-call vote. Republicans are in the minority, so Democrats will be able to pass the measure with a roll-call vote when lawmakers return.

The measures stalled despite a bipartisan accord struck between leaders in the House and Senate, and after Trump agreed to lift some demands that had been holding up the bill. Other lawmakers also agreed to drop some of their funding requests that were stalling talks.

[Related: Senate approves $19.B disaster aid package]

Roy cited the high price tag for the measure, arguing it deserved floor debate. He also pointed to the lack of funding needed to deal with a humanitarian crisis on the border that the president had been seeking.

The House could attempt to pass the measure once again in the next pro forma session on Thursday, but it would again invite a possible GOP objection.

Democrats denounced the move.

“House Republicans’ last-minute sabotage of an overwhelmingly bipartisan disaster relief bill is an act of staggering political cynicism,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said. “Countless American families hit by devastating natural disasters across the country will now be denied the relief they urgently need.”

House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey offered similar sentiments.

“After President Trump and Senate Republicans delayed disaster relief for more than four months, it is deeply disappointing that House Republicans are now making disaster victims wait even longer to get the help they need,” Lowey, D-N.Y., said.

[Also read: What’s Trump covering up? Democrats seek ‘the impeachable truth’]

“We must pass this bicameral, bipartisan bill, and we will keep working to get it through the House and onto the president’s desk.”

Trump agreed to sign the bill without $4.5 billion in emergency funding to help deal with the recent surge in illegal immigration along the southern border. Removing the border funding eased the agreement. Democrats were opposed to its inclusion, and Trump agreed to leave it out after talks with Republicans Thursday. Senate Republican leaders said Thursday they’ll attempt to move the border security funding separately.

The Senate passed the measure yesterday with overwhelming bipartisan support, but with criticism from GOP leaders.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., criticized Democrats for blocking the money Trump was seeking, arguing the funds are needed for humanitarian aid in response to thousands of migrant families crossing into the United States from Mexico.

“This wasn’t money for the wall, or even for law enforcement. It was money so that the federal government could continue to house, feed, and care for the men, women, and children showing up on our southern border,” McConnell said. “Money for agencies that are currently running on fumes.”

The measure also includes millions of dollars more for Puerto Rico despite Trump’s argument that the island has already received enough disaster aid.

[Read: Trump says he has ‘taken better care of Puerto Rico than any man ever’]

Democrats blamed Trump and the GOP for the delay in passing the package and called the humanitarian funding “extraneous.”

“It’s good that Republicans finally came to their senses and realized that Puerto Rico and other disaster-impacted areas deserve to be treated fairly and that extraneous provisions shouldn’t be added to the disaster relief package,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said.

It would provide more than $3 billion for farm crop damage due to storms and nearly $1 billion for the Marine Corps and Air Force to repair bases and restore equipment damaged by recent hurricanes.

The measure would also provide $600 million to the Economic Development Administration to provide grants to areas damaged by storms in 2018 and 2019.

[Related: Bipartisan pair introduces Puerto Rico statehood bill in Congress]

WASHINGTON (AP) — She’s calling for an “intervention” to save the nation from him. He says she’s “crazy.”

The enmity between President Donald Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi deteriorated Thursday into rude-and-then-some questioning of his fitness for office and her sanity, with personal attacks flowing from both the nation’s top elected officials after a dramatic blow-up at the White House.

However intended, the exchanges left uncertain ahead of the 2020 election whether Trump and the Democrats will be able to work together on serious, must-pass tasks, such as funding the government and raising the federal borrowing limit, let alone thornier issues such as immigration, national security and more.

Pelosi went first, with demure shrugs and practiced sass. Then, as a tornado warning blared across Washington, Trump followed with a derisive nickname — something he had declined to give her, up to now.

“She’s a mess,” Trump told reporters at an afternoon news conference in which he lined up White House staff to testify to his calmness the day before when he walked out after three minutes at a meeting with Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Charles Schumer.

“Crazy Nancy. … I watched Nancy and she was all crazy yesterday.”

As for himself, he declared, “I’m an extremely stable genius.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi openly questioned President Donald Trump's fitness for office Thursday. At one point she even joked about the 25th Amendment, the Constitution's provision laying out the procedure for replacing a president. (May 23)

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Pelosi scolded back:

“When the ‘extremely stable genius’ starts acting more presidential, I’ll be happy to work with him on infrastructure, trade and other issues,” she tweeted.

There was more, before and after that exchange, for political enthusiasts with the time and interest to follow along.

For those who don’t: The theater came a day after Trump stalked out of the Cabinet Room demanding an end to all congressional investigations before he would work with Congress on repairing U.S. infrastructure or other matters. He apparently was wound up generally over the ongoing congressional Trump-Russia probes into whether he obstructed justice, and specifically by Pelosi’s jab a few minutes earlier at the Capitol that he “is engaged in a cover-up.”

“I don’t do cover-ups,” fumed Trump, who is fighting subpoenas for testimony by current and former White House officials.

Hanging over the increasingly personal exchanges is a drumbeat among about two dozen Democrats and one Republican to launch impeachment hearings against Trump based on special counsel Robert Mueller’s report, which described Trump’s efforts to block his federal investigation. Pelosi has resisted that impeachment pressure, preferring a methodical process by which Congress investigates and lays out the facts on the question of obstruction of justice. She says the House is “not on a path to impeachment,” but she’s been clear this week that an impeachment inquiry is not off the table.

Short of that, she’s been happy to give Trump a hard time all year, including questioning his manhood and forcing him to re-open the government without the border wall money he demanded. On Thursday, she said the White House is “crying out” for impeachment — the idea being that a vindication by the Republican-controlled Senate would help assure his re-election.

On Thursday, subtlety went by the wayside. Pelosi said Trump has established a pattern of unpredictability, and at one point she even joked about the 25th Amendment, the Constitution’s provision laying out the procedure for replacing a president.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders says "it's insane" to think infrastructure talks can continue as if House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had not accused President Donald Trump of a "cover-up." (May 23)

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“I wish that his family or his administration or his staff would have an intervention for the good of the country,” Pelosi said at her weekly news conference, adding that she prays for him and the nation.

“Maybe he wants to take a leave of absence,” she said. Asked whether she’s concerned about Trump’s well-being, she replied, “I am.”

Trump denied he wanted the House to formally charge him.

“I don’t think anybody wants to be impeached,” he said.

Pelosi, the second in line to the presidency, said she thinks Trump’s actions Wednesday were part of his skill at distraction. But she also suggested what he does isn’t all strategic.

“Sometimes when we’re talking to him he agrees,” she said, only to change his mind. “He says he’s in charge and he may be.”

During questions, Pelosi said she thought a reporter had asked about “statutory” intervention, the 25th Amendment.

“That’s a good idea,” she said with a smile. “I am going to take it up with my caucus. Not that they haven’t been thinking about it.”

She has been insulting Trump since the meeting Wednesday that was supposed to be about bridges and other crumbling infrastructure.

“For some reason, maybe it was lack of confidence on his part … he took a pass, and it just makes me wonder why he did that,” she told reporters back on Capitol Hill. “In any event I pray for the president of the United States.”

Trump tweeted back: “Nancy, thank you so much for your prayers, I know you truly mean it!”

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Associated Press Writers Lisa Mascaro, Mary Clare Jalonick, Zeke Miller and Jonathan Lemire contributed to this report.

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Follow Kellman and Miller on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/APLaurieKellman and http://www.twitter.com/ZekeJMiller .

Counselor Kellyanne Conway, White House communications director Mercedes Schlapp, deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley, National Economic Council director Larry Kudlow and press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders at the White House on Thursday. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

WASHINGTON—President Trump smiled as he entered the Roosevelt Room in the White House, armed with $16 billion in good news for farmers struggling amid his continuing trade conflict with China. By the time he left, Mr. Trump had effectively carpet bombed what little remained of his relationship with congressional Democrats by mocking House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s intelligence, ridiculing her speaking style and calling the first woman to lead the U.S. House “a mess.”

Thursday brought another episode of the Donald Trump and Nancy Pelosi show, culminating in a roster of senior presidential advisers lining up along the wall of the historic room attesting to how calmly Mr. Trump had handled Wednesday’s installment.

With more than a dozen American farmers looking on, including an Idahoan wearing a red “Make Potatoes Great Again” hat, Mr. Trump was asked by reporters about comments from Mrs. Pelosi earlier in the day that the president’s family should stage an intervention after his behavior during a meeting on Wednesday. At that gathering, Mr. Trump told Democrats he wouldn’t work with them while investigations of him continued and then abruptly stormed out of the room before anyone else could speak.

Mr. Trump responded to the question by calling upon five White House aides—one after the other—to stand in front of TV cameras and vouch for the prudence and discipline he said he displayed at a meeting a day earlier with Democrats.

“No temper tantrum,” said Kellyanne Conway, his counselor. Hogan Gidley, a deputy press secretary, wasn’t even in the room for the meeting, but still attested to the president’s composure. Larry Kudlow, Mr. Trump’s chief economic adviser who is hobbled with a bad hip, leaned on a cane as he limped to the front of the room to tell his boss, in front of television cameras, “You were very calm.”

President Trump lashed out at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi calling her ‘crazy’ after she suggested the president’s family stage an intervention, and asked his staff to vouch for his calm and collected behavior as a dozen farmers looked on. Photo: EPA

“I’m an extremely stable genius,” Mr. Trump told reporters.

After 28 months in office, Mr. Trump has amassed a highlight reel of astonishing, must-see moments on live television, and his impromptu news conference on Thursday provided another. The latest performance demonstrated his concern about Mrs. Pelosi’s comments and his desire to counter. Often that happens on Twitter, but he has twice in two days delivered his ripostes in televised news conferences from the White House.

The round of testimonials from his staff most closely recalled the unusual cabinet meeting in June 2017, when agency heads and senior staff—men and women Mr. Trump had nominated or hired—showered him with adulation as the TV cameras rolled. “We thank you for the opportunity and the blessing that you’ve given us to serve your agenda and the American people,” Reince Priebus, the White House chief of staff at the time, told him.

The cabinet meeting two years ago came as the administration’s travel ban had been blocked again by an appeals court and as then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions agreed to testify in public about his connections to an investigation of Russian meddlings in the 2016 election. Mr. Trump unleashed his latest performance amid escalating tensions between he and Mrs. Pelosi.

Before traveling to the White House to meet with Mr. Trump Wednesday, Mrs. Pelosi accused the Republican president of engaging in a “coverup” as a growing faction of Democrats called for Mr. Trump’s impeachment. She described Mr. Trump as having a “temper tantrum” at their meeting in the White House and on Thursday urged his staff and his family to “have an intervention for the good of the country.

“I pray for the president of the United States,” she said, adding that “this is not behavior that rises to the dignity of the office of president of the United States.”

Mr. Trump’s frustration was palpable in the White House on Thursday. He said that he made a point of telling his staff he would be calm with Mrs. Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer so that they couldn’t accuse him of “ranting and raving.” Mr. Trump had wanted to avoid a repeat of his meeting with leaders in January over a government shutdown, when, frustrated after the lack of progress, he ended it after 20 minutes by putting his hands in the air—two open palms on either side of his face—and said, “Bye-bye,” and left the room.

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Democrats left that meeting saying Mr. Trump had pounded the desk in anger, but he denied acting violently. Mr. Trump said on Thursday that he left his meeting on Wednesday and “went directly to the press conference” to show reporters he was calm and stave off accusations that he was fuming.

“I didn’t want them to say I did it—they said it anyway,” Mr. Trump said, closing his eyes for effect.

Mr. Trump’s complained about “the narrative” from Democrats about him. And accused them of lying to score political points. “They don’t feel they can win the election,” he said about his re-election campaign in 2020. “So they’re trying to do the thousand stabs.”

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders, who momentarily left the news conference, returned as staff was praising the president. She added some levity when Mr. Trump asked if he was “screaming and ranting and raving” at the meeting, or if he was calm.

“I’ve seen both,” she said. “This was definitely not angry or ranting. Very calm and straightforward.”

The response drew laughs from much of the room, but not Mr. Trump, who only flashed a brief but tight smile.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, who was in the room for the announcement about aid to farmers, said it was “frustrating” that the positive news for farmers likely would be overshadowed by Mr. Trump’s latest back-and-forth with Mrs. Pelosi.

“Obviously he is a very passionate leader,” Mr. Perdue said.

Write to Michael C. Bender at Mike.Bender@wsj.com


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