US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi has vowed to pursue impeachment of President Donald Trump if more damning evidence emerges.
During her weekly press briefing in the Capitol in Washington, DC, on Thursday, Pelosi defended Democrats’ investigative approach to the Republican president, dismissing confusion surrounding the party’s oversight message as a media propaganda.
“Legislate, investigate, litigate. That’s the path that we’ve been on, and that’s the path we continue to be on,” she said.
Pelosi denounced reporters as “the only ones who are sowing” the idea that Democrats are in disagreement over the ongoing investigations into alleged presidential wrongdoing.
“They 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 will follow the facts … and make our decision when we’re ready,” she said.
“That’s all I’m going to say about this subject,” she continued. “There’s nothing different from one day to the next. We’re still on our same path.”
Pelosi knows ‘exactly what she’s doing’
Meanwhile, Trump on Thursday praised Pelosi and her handling of calls for his impeachment.
“I don’t think she’s scared of anything. I think she’s a smart woman and I think she knows exactly what she’s doing,” Trump told reporters at the White House when asked if Pelosi was “scared” to impeach him.
He then claimed that the economy did well during his presidency, citing the stock market and low unemployment statistics for minority groups.
“No, I think we’ve done a great job,” he said. “There are those that say the best job in the history of our country for the first 2 1/2 years. So, pretty much that’s the story.”
Some 140 House Democrats have endorsed the impeachment of President Trump in some form. But Pelosi has resisted that route, saying she believes the Democratic Party needs to focus its energies on defeating Trump and the Republicans in the November 2020 election.
Republicans have said Democrats lacked the votes to obtain a formal impeachment inquiry and denounced a recent action by the US House of Representatives Judiciary Committee as a show intended to appeal to Democratic voters who want Trump removed from office.
The committee adopted a resolution on Thursday allowing it to designate hearings as impeachment proceedings.
The 41-member panel also approved guidelines that allow it to subject witnesses to more aggressive questioning and quicken the pace of an investigation.
The committee action could prove politically explosive for both Trump and Congress ahead of the 2020 election.
Committee Democrats plan to use the new tactics to help lay out charges of obstruction of justice, allegations of campaign finance violations, witness tampering and unlawful self-enrichment through his business ventures.
Democrats aim to decide by the end of the year whether to recommend articles of impeachment against Trump to the full House. If approved by the chamber, the Republican-controlled Senate would be left to hold a trial and consider the president’s ouster.
Only two American presidents have been impeached by the House: Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1999. Neither was convicted by the Senate.
President Richard Nixon resigned in 1974 after the House Judiciary Committee approved articles of impeachment against him, but before the full House voted on the matter.