‘I don’t think we should go down that path because it divides the country. And he’s just not worth it…’
(Ben Sellers, Liberty Headlines) In an interview published Monday in The Washington Post, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi gave her strongest statement of opposition yet to impeaching President Donald Trump.
“I’m not for impeachment,” she said. “This is news—I haven’t said this to any press person before.”
The statement is sure to rankle many of her Democratic colleagues in the House, who have, in so many words, made constant calls to “Impeach the motherf***er.”
Several powerful committees have hired full-time staffs to investigate the president and have indicated that they plan to do so regardless of the findings of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, whose report to the attorney general on collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia is expected any day.
As for supporters of the president, it may leave many wondering whether Pelosi taking it off the table could help usher in a spirit of relative bipartisanship, if it could offer some hint as to the contents of the Mueller report—or if it’s simply a trap being laid by a master manipulator to encourage Trump to let his guard down.
“Since you asked, and I’ve been thinking about this,” Pelosi told The Post, “impeachment is so divisive to the country that unless there’s something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan, I don’t think we should go down that path because it divides the country. And he’s just not worth it.”
Pelosi has, since becoming the House leader in January, given similar indications that there would need to be a high, “bipartisan” bar for impeaching, particularly as it would fail to remove the president from office if it came to a party-line vote in the Senate.
Such was the case with former President Bill Clinton in the late 1990s. Although there was clear material evidence that he had obstructed justice and perjured himself to investigators—and to the American public—about his sexual dalliances in the Oval Office, no Democrats in the Senate supported the charges that would have removed him from office.
The voting public also sent a clear message to the House of Representatives in November 1998, as impeachment was imminent, by reversing Republicans’ wave victory from the previous 1994 midterm and punishing the party with a loss of seats—though not enough to overturn their majority.
Thus far, no evidence has been presented publicly that would implicate Trump in an impeachable offense.
While accusations, bolstered by the testimony of Trump’s former attorney Michael Cohen, suggest impropriety and possible campaign finance violations in payoffs delivered to two alleged Trump paramours, Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, who would have conducted their romantic liaisons a decade prior to his campaign, those accusations reached nowhere near the level of Clinton’s offenses.
Rather, Cohen’s own felony convictions—including lying to Congress—have already led Trump allies to attack his credibility as a witness.
Moreover, based on precedent set by disgraced former Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C., Trump defenders could easily argue that any payoffs were personal in nature rather than campaign expenses.
Whatever Pelosi’s true intentions are, certainly one of them is deflating Trump’s ability to rile his base prior to next year’s election.
She made clear in no uncertain terms what she felt regarding Trump’s fitness for the office.
“No. No. I don’t think he is,” Pelosi said. “I mean, ethically unfit. Intellectually unfit. Curiosity-wise unfit. No, I don’t think he’s fit to be president of the United States.”
Pelosi conducted the interview with The Post on March 6, it said. The remainder will be published in a forthcoming edition of The Washington Post Magazine.