Nancy Pelosi and other senior member of the Democratic Party, have rejected calls to move forward with Donald Trump’s impeachment, claiming they wanted to yet build a stronger case against the president.
In a seemingly testy appearance before reporters, just hours after Robert Mueller completed his testimony on Capitol Hill, the House speaker brushed off the idea proceeding with impeachment of the president - something many in her party have called for.
“My position has always been: whatever decision we make in that regard would have to be done with our strongest possible hand, and we still have some outstanding matters in the courts,” she said.
She added: “It’s about the Congress, the constitution and the courts. And we are fighting the president in the courts.”
House judiciary chairman Jerry Nadler said his committee would go to court on Thursday to seek access to grand jury material in Mr Mueller's report, and to enforce a subpoena against former White House counsel Don McGahn to try to get him to testify.
“Today was a watershed day in telling the facts to the American people. With those facts we can proceed,” said Mr Nadler, though he too stopped short for now of calling for the president’s impeachment.
The comments of Ms Pelosi underscore a divide among Democrats on how to proceed with the question of Mr Trump’s impeachment. A number of younger and more progressive members, among them Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, support proceeding with censuring the president, and were elected on such a platform.
Earlier this month, when Texas congressman Al Green tried to bring an impeachment resolution against the president, he had the support of 94 other Democrats in his party.
This was not his first attempt to table the resolution, and this third effort had more support than his earlier efforts, suggesting the mood among the party was changing.
Yet Ms Pelosi is fearful that pursuing Mr Trump’s impeachment, would distract both the party and the country as it prepares for the 2020 election. She also thinks it could help energise his base.
A recent Washington Post-ABC News poll, found 59 per cent of people said the House should not begin impeachment proceedings against the president, while 37 per cent support such a move.
Among Democrats, 61 per cent support impeachment.
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