Congress

Pelosi against censuring Trump: ‘If the goods are there, you must impeach’

Democrats will consider impeachment ‘when we stop finding even more information,’ Pelosi says

Speaker Nancy Pelosi conducts her weekly news conference in the Capitol Visitor Center on Thursday, June 13, 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday made her strongest comments on impeachment to date in rejecting an idea some House Democrats have floated to censure President Donald Trump. 

“No. I think censure is just a way out,” the California Democrat said at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast, when asked if she would support a censure resolution against Trump. “If you want to go, you have to go. In other words, if the goods are there, you must impeach.”

[Trump says he doesn't want to be impeached, but he sure acts like it]

Pelosi has always said Democrats will let the facts obtained during their investigations of Trump dictate whether impeachment is merited or not, but her statement noting “if the goods are there, you must impeach” is some of her strongest language yet on the matter. 

In rejecting the idea of censure, Pelosi basically said no action short of impeachment will be enough to punish Trump for his alleged misdeeds. 

“Censure is nice but is not commensurate with the violations of the Constitution, should we decide that’s the way to go,” she said. “That’s a day at the beach for the president — or his golf club, wherever he goes.” 

[Where all 24 House Judiciary Democrats stand on impeachment]

So will Pelosi get on board with impeachment, and if so when? She provided an answer that left the outcome open-ended. 

“When we stop finding even more information,” she said. 

The “cover-up,” as Pelosi has referred to Trump’s stonewalling, runs deep, the speaker noted. 

“Every day we see more, so why would we stop with a less strong case?” she said.

Pelosi also reiterated the importance of public sentiment and getting more of the American people on board with the idea of impeaching Trump before Democrats consider going down that path.

The public support for impeachment needs to be so strong that “when the president, if the president is impeached, that the Senate understands that they either honor the oath of office … or the public will hold them accountable for not holding the president accountable,” she said.

As for the continuously growing number of House Democrats calling for an impeachment inquiry, Pelosi said she respects every members’ opinions on timing, but she doesn’t think an inquiry should be opened until they are prepared to see it through the expected conclusion.

“I don’t think you should have an inquiry unless you’re ready to impeach,” she said.

“I feel no pressure from my members to do anything,” Pelosi added. “And I have no pressure on them to do anything.”

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