FERGUSON, Mo. – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi dismissed fellow Democrats who say she has set the bar too high for impeachment of President Donald Trump.
In an exclusive interview with USA TODAY, Pelosi said some House progressives have “wanted to impeach the president since the day he got elected.”
“You’re wasting your time, unless the evidence is so conclusive that the Republicans will understand,” Pelosi, D-Calif., told USA TODAY. “Otherwise, it’s a gift to the president. We take our eye off the ball.”
The speaker said, instead of impeachment, Democrats needed to stay united in pushing through legislation that they campaigned on, such as addressing rising health-care costs and creating jobs.
“I’m just not going to say it’s all about him,” Pelosi said Monday during a stop in Ferguson with Rep. Lacy Clay, D-Mo. “No, it’s all about you and you and you,” she added, gesturing to an imaginary group of people in front of her.
Pelosi has some history to draw from. She watched Republicans go after President Bill Clinton during the Monica Lewinsky scandal in the late 1990s, and then lose House seats in the next election. Meanwhile, Clinton’s popularity increased.
In addition to running investigations of their own, House Democrats are waiting for the final results of an investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller on Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Pelosi has been skeptical of impeachment, but in an interview with The Washington Post last week she took it a step further by saying Trump was “just not worth it.”
Those comments rankled some progressives who saw Pelosi as giving a pass to the president.
“I felt she was rushing to judgment without all the information being in,” billionaire activist Tom Steyer told USA TODAY last week. Steyer leads a movement focused on impeaching the president.
“She was, in effect, handing a veto to all the Republicans in terms of holding Mr. Trump to account,” Steyer said.
What happens after Robert Mueller delivers his report? Congress braces for legal and political battles.
Exclusive: Nancy Pelosi vows ‘different world’ for Trump, no more ‘rubber stamp’ in new Congress