House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Wednesday afternoon provided further details about how President Trump canceled a much-anticipated infrastructure meeting over the speaker saying Trump was involved in a “cover-up” during special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.
“It was very, very, very strange,” Pelosi told the Center for American Progress’ 2019 Ideas Conference in Washington, D.C.
The California Democrat, 79, said her caucus had been “hopeful” that Trump would “participate in the conversation,” outlining what parts of the proposed $2 trillion infrastructure package he was willing to support after a previous negotiation round.
“Instead, in an orchestrated, almost to a ‘Poor Baby’ point of view, he came into the room and said, I said he was engaged in a cover-up and he couldn’t possibly engage in a conversation on infrastructure as long as we are investigating him,” she said. “Now we have been investigating him since we took over the majority, so there’s nothing new in that.”
Pelosi reiterated comments she made after House Democrats met earlier Wednesday regarding the prospect of impeaching Trump, saying that “in plain sight, the president is obstructing justice and is engaged in a cover-up,” which “could be an impeachable offense.” She added she was praying for the president and the country, a phrase she also used during a post-meeting press conference.
Trump responded to Pelosi’s remarks on Twitter, calling the ongoing investigation into his conduct as “a tremendous waste of time and energy.”
“Democrat leadership is tearing the United States apart, but I will continue to set records for the American People — and Nancy, thank you so much for your prayers, I know you truly mean it!” he wrote.
….Democrat leadership is tearing the United States apart, but I will continue to set records for the American People – and Nancy, thank you so much for your prayers, I know you truly mean it!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 22, 2019
President Donald Trump followed up his fiery Rose Garden speech Wednesday with a series of tweets that took aim at Democrats on Capitol Hill and their continued investigations of him and his administration.
Shortly after his hastily scheduled press conference, Trump continued to assail his political enemies on Twitter.
“So sad that Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer will never be able to see or understand the great promise of our Country. They can continue the Witch Hunt which has already cost $40M and been a tremendous waste of time and energy for everyone in America, or get back to work….” Trump wrote.
“….But they really want a do-over! You can’t investigate and legislate simultaneously – it just doesn’t work that way. You can’t go down two tracks at the same time. Let Chuck, Nancy, Jerry, Adam and all of the rest finish playing their games….” he wrote in a follow-up.
“….In the meantime, my Administration is achieving things that have never been done before, including unleashing perhaps the Greatest Economy in our Country’s history….” Trump added.
He closed by writing, “….Democrat leadership is tearing the United States apart, but I will continue to set records for the American People – and Nancy, thank you so much for your prayers, I know you truly mean it!”
Pelosi, the speaker of the House, said she was praying for Trump after he “took a pass” on working with Democrats for infrastructure legislation.
Source: NewsMax Politics
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is “caught in a box” when it comes for impeachment because she knows beginning proceedings would create a backlash that would eventually benefit President Donald Trump, Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said Wednesday after she accused the president of being engaged in a cover-up.
“While many of her members are calling for impeachment, she is trying to keep that talk squelched,” Sen. Cornyn told Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom.” “But really, what they’re doing is squandering what they got in the last election, a working majority in the House of Representatives to work with us and work together to try to pass legislation that would benefit the American people.”
Trump, during a series of early morning tweets, said Democrats are on a fishing expedition against him, and Cornyn agreed.
“It is important to remember Congress has a very different role from the Department of Justice and the special counsel,” Cornyn said. “Ours is to do oversight of the laws that we pass to see if new changes need to be made or reforms need to be considered.”
Cornyn added it is not a “legitimate scope of oversight” for Congress to get hold of Trump’s tax returns, and to call former White House lawyer Don McGahn in for a hearing was not right, as confidential communications between a White House counsel and the president have always been protected.
Source: NewsMax Politics
President Trump said Tuesday that Democrats would have to end “phony investigations” if any bipartisan agreement on infrastructure is to come to fruition.
Trump pulled together a hastily organized press conference in the Rose Garden after a meeting between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. The president said that Democrats’ continued insistence on investigating him and his administration after the release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report is killing infrastructure plans.
“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,” Trump said. “But you know what? You can’t do it under these circumstances — so get these phony investigations over with.”
The two Democratic leaders left the White House just minutes after arriving. Trump had previously said that progress had been made on a bipartisan infrastructure meeting, with Schumer even floating a $2 trillion price tag — but after today’s meeting it appears as though those efforts have halted completely.
House Democrats on Wednesday said President Trump abandoned a plan to reach a $2 trillion bipartisan deal on infrastructure, walking out of a contentious meeting with Democrats.
“He just took a pass,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said, adding, “I pray for the president, and I pray for the United States of America.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said the president “had to run away” and came up with a “pre-planned excuse” for leaving the room.
“If you watched what happened in the White House, it would make your jaw drop,” Schumer said.
Trump told Democrats a few weeks ago he would agree to a $2 trillion infrastructure deal and would get back to them on how to pay for it.
Instead, the president said he’s not going to work on anything with Democrats due to an onslaught of ongoing congressional investigations, including an effort to seek his tax returns and personal finances.
Pelosi said Trump “wasn’t really respectful of the Congress.”
The vast majority of members of the House Democratic Caucus would support impeachment proceedings for President Donald Trump, but “just not now,” House Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C., said Wednesday.
“The issue now is whether or not that is something that should be done today or tomorrow, or whether or not we go through a process by which we build a foundation upon which to successfully impeach the president,” Clyburn told CNN’s “New Day.” “We are all looking forward to the day when that might be ripened. We have not gotten there yet.”
However, he said he does not know if proceedings are inevitable, but there have been many “successes,” that have come from “steady, focused” movement toward getting facts.
Clyburn said he is closer to wanting to start an impeachment inquiry than he was a few weeks ago, but he is not quite ready to “pull the trigger on that.”
He added he is not happy former White House lawyer Don McGahn and others have refused testimony before House committees, but “I do not want to rush to judgment on anything. I believe in going through the steps.”
Clyburn said he would support charging fines to people who do not show up to testify, but he hoped that in a meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that decision would not come up, but instead members would talk and then reassess how to move forward.
Further, Clyburn said he does not think it is essential that special counsel Robert Mueller testifies before Congress publicly, but he does think he should testify and that a public record is kept.
Source: NewsMax Politics
Judging by their public words and actions, it feels like President Trump wants impeachment more than House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
It’s been pretty clear since Democrats took over the House of Representatives that Pelosi has been desperately trying to avoid impeachment. She’s remained resistant even in the face of increased calls by rank and file members to at least launch some sort of impeachment inquiry. It’s pretty clear that Pelosi wants to pursue a strategy of keeping up Congressional investigations to embarrass Trump, while passing various parts of the Democratic agenda that are publicly popular and have consensus support among Democrats but that Republicans will block, thus tee-ing up the argument for 2020.
Despite Trump’s unpopularity, multiple polls have found that a majority of the public opposes impeaching him. The release of the Robert Mueller report actually made impeachment less likely, because its inability to establish Trump campaign coordination with Russia or to recommend obstruction charges, made it a lot easier for Republicans to oppose impeaching Trump. Even if we assume Senate Republicans would protect Trump from being removed from office no matter the evidence, if the evidence were more powerful, they’d have to do so at much greater political cost than they are able to now. At the current moment, even Sens. Susan Collins and Cory Gardner, the two Republican incumbents up for reelection in states won by Hillary Clinton, have not felt any pressure to impeach.
It seems that Trump and Republican political strategists have reached pretty much the same conclusion as Pelosi and the rest of Democratic leadership: that impeaching Trump would backfire and be a tremendous political gift. Were Democrats to pursue impeachment, it would suck up all the oxygen in Washington and allow Trump to wrap up all accusations against him into an impeachment gambit that does not have any public support. He’d be able to rally his base around him while Democrats are divided, and would argue it proves that the Democrats have no agenda beyond obstruction. And he knows it could never actually succeed given that he has the protection of Senate Republicans.
We’re already starting to see some of these arguments get trotted out. Trump has repeatedly argued that Democrats want impeachment because they know they can’t win in 2020. On Wednesday, he argued:
Everything the Democrats are asking me for is based on an illegally started investigation that failed for them, especially when the Mueller Report came back with a NO COLLUSION finding. Now they say Impeach President Trump, even though he did nothin wrong, while they “fish!”
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 22, 2019
The House Republican Conference’s rapid response team sent out an email Tuesday with the subject line, “The Democrats’ Agenda Is Impeachment.” It read:
Despite the fact that they have failed to produce on any of the issues that truly matter for the American people, Speaker Pelosi is, as noted on CNN today by Politico’s John Bresnahan, now under tremendous pressure to devote all their time and attention to impeachment.
In sum, impeachment is set to become their entire agenda, full stop
If Trump were eager to avoid impeachment, it seems he would guarantee his ability to do that by throwing a few bones to Congressional investigators in terms of document requests or access to testimony that wouldn’t actually do him any harm. That would bolster Pelosi’s argument within her caucus that it’s worthwhile to let investigations run their course. Instead, Trump has vowed to fight all of the Congressional subpoenas and is following through. This has put Democratic leaders in the position tap dancing around the question, trying to both portray Trump as really really really really crossing the line, but then stopping short of impeachment. The results have been pretty amusing actually.
Pelosi said Trump was “becoming self-impeachable.” Asked about this, House Judiciary Committee Chair went off on a tirade about how Trump’s defiance of subpoenas was “a way of neutering Congress, of making sure that Congress can’t do its job, of turning the country into a dictatorship of a monarchical president.” He said that it was a “constitutional crisis,” and yet when asked about the prospects for impeachment, he said, “Impeachment is a decision for down the road.”
We seem to be witnessing this bizarre game of political chicken over impeachment, with Trump eager for a collision and Democrats absolutely petrified of the prospect.
U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) delivers remarks at a reception honoring the 100th anniversary of House passage of the 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S. May 21, 2019. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
May 22, 2019
By Susan Heavey and Richard Cowan
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – As Democrats in the U.S. Congress debated possibly impeaching Republican President Donald Trump, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Wednesday, about an hour before a White House meeting with him, that Trump is engaged in a “cover-up.”
The president is stonewalling multiple congressional investigations by ignoring subpoenas, refusing to allow current and former advisers to testify, and not handing over documents, steps that have aggravated a confrontation with Congress.
“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,” Pelosi told reporters after a morning meeting of House of Representatives Democrats.
She and other congressional leaders were scheduled to meet midmorning at the White House with Trump to talk about a potential bipartisan infrastructure development plan, although a firm proposal for funding any such effort has yet to emerge.
Trump and Democrats who control the House are engaged in a high-stakes power struggle over their ability to investigate him, with the president increasingly asserting that his advisers need not respond to lawmakers’ inquiries.
Their probes range from whether Trump obstructed justice during Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s inquiry into Russian meddling in Trump’s favor in the 2016 U.S. presidential election to his personal finances and businesses.
As the confrontation has escalated, Pelosi and other senior House leaders have been trying to tamp down demands from more junior Democratic lawmakers to kick off impeachment proceedings, urging them to give court enforcement actions time to progress.
The Democratic chairman of the House Intelligence Committee said on Wednesday he would hold off enforcing a subpoena against Attorney General William Barr after the Justice Department agreed to turn over materials relating to an investigation into Russian election interference.
The decision ended a standoff between the committee and the Justice Department for access to counterintelligence reports generated by Mueller during his probe.
“The Department of Justice has accepted our offer of a first step toward compliance with our subpoena, and this week will begin turning over to the committee twelve categories of counterintelligence and foreign intelligence materials as part of an initial rolling production,” Committee Chairman Adam Schiff said in a statement on Wednesday.
Several House Democrats left Wednesday morning’s meeting telling reporters that Schiff’s deal might cool some of the passion for immediately moving toward impeachment
But impeachment demands have mounted since former White House Counsel Don McGahn ignored a subpoena from the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday to appear before it and testify.
“For many of us, we think at least an impeachment inquiry would give us more ability to get witnesses to come to Congress. We’re just trying to figure out how to get the truth,” Democratic Representative Mark Pocan told MSNBC.
Democratic Representative Gerry Connolly told reporters that Pelosi was working to balance the demands of Democrats in the House. But he added, “I am increasingly concerned that this president has committed impeachable offenses.”
(Reporting by Susan Heavey, Richard Cowan and Doina Chiacu; Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh and Jonathan Oatis)
A group of progressive House Democrats made their case to rank-and-file lawmakers on Wednesday that it’s time to open an impeachment inquiry into President Trump. But their efforts were not enough to convince party lawmakers who remain wary of taking such a dramatic step, favoring court fights instead.
“The overwhelming majority of the House Democratic Caucus continues to believe that the speaker has set forth the appropriate course, which is deliberate yet forceful,” Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., said after the meeting. “There are a growing number of House members who have articulated a desire to move toward an impeachment inquiry but as far as I can tell that number is somewhere between 20 and 25.”
Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., opposes opening an impeachment inquiry into Trump despite an increasingly tense standoff between Democratic-led oversight panels and the White House over documents and witness testimony that Trump has blocked from Congress. Pelosi favors the approach employed by House Ways and Means Committee Richie Neal, D-Mass., who is suing for access to President Trump’s tax returns.
“The overwhelming majority continue to believe that we should proceed along the course that we’re on right now,” Jeffries said.
Pelosi scheduled Wednesday’s meeting to update lawmakers on the oversight work and court battles but she also opened up the forum to impeachment proponents, who believe it’s time to open an inquiry because it would provide quicker access to information the Trump administration is withholding.
“Today there was a lot of impeachment talk,” Rep. Lois Frankel, D-Fla. who does not support an impeachment inquiry, told the Washington Examiner.
Many impeachment advocates are progressives and members of the House Judiciary Committee, which has been engaged in a weeks-long fight with the White House over access to the unredacted Mueller report as well as other documents and witness testimony.
“We have responsibility and an obligation to talk to other members and describe to them the process the Judiciary Committee has been involved in to try to explain to them our reasoning for why we believe that opening an inquiry is the right thing to do,” Rep .Joe Neguse, D-Colo., said after the meeting.
Chairs of the panels conducting Trump Administration oversight took turns updating the caucus on their progress in obtaining documents and pointed to recent court cases that have so far sided with the legislative branch and against the Trump Administration.
A federal judge this week ruled against Trump’s attempt to block a House Oversight panel subpoena of his finances, which many lawmakers said strengthens the case for taking the fight to court and not the well of the House.
Democrats also praised a deal announced Wednesday between the Department of Justice and the House Intelligence Committee to allow panel members to view some of the underlying counterintelligence documents in the Mueller report that they have been seeking.
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal, D-Ma., told lawmakers he is taking Trump to court to gain access to his tax returns, which the Treasury Department has refused to furnish.
Neal has made no mention of impeachment or pursuing contempt charges against Treasury or IRS officials who maintain custody of the tax returns and won’t hand them over.
“At this particular point, I think the speaker is absolutely correct,” Rep. Bill Pascrell, D-N.J., said. “Richie Neal and his methodical approach is absolutely correct.”
Pascrell cited the new court ruling in favor of the House Oversight request for financial documents. The judge ruled Congress had a right to the documents as part of their oversight responsibility.
“There is no need to begin impeachment procedures,” Pascrell said.
Pelosi’s top concern is maintaining the majority in 2020, which will require holding seats won in swing districts, where constituents do not favor a drawn-out impeachment proceeding that would dominate the Congress for many weeks.
Frankel said constituents in her South Florida district, many of them seniors, don’t care about impeachment. They want her to work on lowering prescription drug prices.
Frankel stood up in the meeting and urged the caucus to pursue a kitchen-table agenda, not an attempt to oust the president. She backs the oversight panels pursuing witnesses and documents from the Trump administration.
“The impeachment question is just taking up all the oxygen in the room,” Frankel said. “I like the committees to keep going. You can’t drop it and just give in to his coverup and stonewalling. But we’ve got to keep pushing forward with our agenda and making sure people know about it. If all everyone is talking about is impeachment, that’s how he charges up his supporters. “
Pelosi said after the meeting, “It was a very positive meeting, a respectful sharing of ideas and a very impressive presentation by our chairs. We do believe 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 – in a cover-up. And that was the nature of the meeting.”
There is a “great drum beat” in the United States for House Democrats to hold President Donald Trump accountable for his actions, House Budget Committee Chairman John Yarmuth, D-Ky., said Wednesday, adding that far more Democrats support his impeachment than has been reported.
“I think the number is higher of those who would support impeachment but haven’t decided to go public yet,” Rep. Yarmuth told CNN’s “New Day.“ “I think a growing majority of our caucus believes that impeachment is going to be inevitable, but they also believe that we need to pursue the investigations that are going on.”
Yarmuth has called for impeachment and said Wednesday that if Congress waits until fall to begin its investigations aimed at an inquiry, that will be late, as it would put the actual proceedings into an election year.
He also disagreed Americans are more interested in Congress focusing on issues such as healthcare, saying that in his district, “all I hear is people saying to me, ‘we need to get rid of Donald Trump,’ And I don’t live in an ultraliberal district.”
But with Trump, there is an “existential threat” to the nation’s Democracy, Yarmuth said.
“We have, in my opinion, an existential threat to our democratic system, and he sits in the White House,” Yarmuth said.
He added he does not think he and others wanting impeachment are “that far off” with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on the matter.
“I think she fully understands that her caucus understands that impeachment is not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when,” Yarmuth said.
Source: NewsMax Politics