Democratic leaders double down on muzzling impeachment talk
WASHINGTON — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democratic leaders doubled down on calls for fellow Dems to back off presidential impeachment talk Monday, according to sources.
Pelosi held a caucus conference call featuring six other members of House leadership where they preached caution amid a flurry of impeachment chatter following the release of a redacted version of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on President Trump and Russia.
The call came hours after Pelosi sent colleagues a letter urging them to “proceed down a path of finding the truth” rather than jumping straight to impeachment.
Democrats in the Monday evening phone call used words like “thoughtful,” “methodical” and “careful” to describe the next steps they should take in investigating Trump, but didn’t come to a consensus on impeachment.
Pelosi cautioned members, “Duty and democracy. That’s what this is about,” according to a source on the call.
“I’m all for impeaching Barr,” she quipped, referring to Attorney General William Barr, whose report on Mueller’s investigation sought to exonerate the president.
Democrats, who are seeking an unredacted version of the Mueller report, agreed they want to bring Barr and Mueller before Congress.
So far Barr has only agreed to show the full report to top members of Congress in a limited setting. Pelosi on Monday shared with the caucus a letter signed by six top Democrats asking Barr for a wider release.
“Well I think that there’s clearly differences of views on the ultimate question of impeachment right now, but there’s a consensus on one thing, which is: we have to get a full, unredacted version of the Mueller report and secondly, we have to have Bob Mueller as well as key witnesses, which are featured in the report, come testify on Capitol Hill,” Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.) said on CNN as the call was still going on.
Pelosi spoke briefly and then handed the floor over to six committee chairs.
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) said Democrats “should be cautious” when pushing impeachment, according to a source.
But Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), chair of the House Financial Services Committee, pointed out “everyone knows I’m for impeachment,” while explaining next steps in her committee’s probes into Trump’s relationship with Deutsche Bank.
Rep. Val Demings (D-Fla.) thought the Mueller report provided enough to impeach Trump, a source said.
“It’s just ridiculous,” she said on the call. “I think we have enough.”
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), meanwhile, said an impeachment should be done in a “deliberate and thoughtful” way.
Earlier Monday, Pelosi reminded Democrats that they don’t have to pursue impeachment to investigate Trump.
“While our views range from proceeding to investigate the findings of the Mueller report or proceeding directory to impeachment, we all firmly agree that we should proceed down a path of finding the truth,” Pelosi wrote in a “Dear Colleague” letter on Monday.
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