Pelosi and her allies have argued they can move forward with impeachment only when public opinion turns against Trump in such a way that it's no longer politically advantageous for Republicans to stick with him. This is news. I'm going to give you some news right now because I haven't said this to any press person before, ' Pelosi told the paper.
Which means that moving to impeach him would be not just "divisive to the country", as she says, but also bad for Democrats - since it would show them as unable to resist the most demented demands of their base.
In an exclusive interview with the Washington Post's Joe Heim, Pelosi said Trump is "just not worth it".
Pelosi insisted later in the interview that it is her view Trump is "ethically" and "intellectually" unfit to be president, but she doesn't believe that ought to be her focus. "You know, I have five kids, and I think I can do everything for them, but I can't control the air they breathe, the water that they drink".
Instead, House Democrats are pursuing their own broad, high-profile investigations that will keep the focus on Trump's business dealings and relationship with Russian Federation, exerting congressional oversight without having to broach the I-word.
"If there's to be grounds for impeachment of President Trump ― and I'm not seeking those grounds ― that would have to be so clearly bipartisan in terms of acceptance of it before I think we should go down any impeachment path", Pelosi told USA Today at the time.
While Pelosi's comments may help Democrats in competitive districts distance themselves from a divisive topic, they could frustrate some of those now in the middle of congressional investigations.
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The timing of Pelosi's impeachment announcement is odd, as it comes after a week of headlines highlighting divisions in the Democratic Caucus over the party's response to comments from freshman Rep. As she says unless there is something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan, they can't get two thirds of the Republican vote. He may not be worth it but of course that's not the standard.
Pelosi's decision to announce that she is not for impeachment before Mueller's report is even released - breaking from the standard she's set for months - will certainly draw criticism. Al Green of Texas and Brad Sherman of California, have already drafted articles of impeachment.
Last week, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, a freshman Democratic lawmaker from MI, said she would file such a resolution this month, claiming "every single colleague" of hers believed that the President has committed impeachable offenses.
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Pelosi and her leadership team were facing pressure on impeachment from as soon as the Democrats took power.
In November 2017, Politico reported that the then-House minority leader told lawmakers she had reached out to Need to Impeach Founder and Democratic megadonor Tom Steyer to tell him his $10 million ad campaign calling for Trump's impeachment was a distraction.
"If we had gone down that path, I doubt we would have won the White House", she said at the time.