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Pelosi says she doesn’t want to impeach Trump: ‘He’s just not worth it’
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Speaker Nancy Pelosi has made a decision on impeachment, and it won’t make the radical left happy. After months of delicately dancing around the topic, Pelosi told the Washington Post on Monday that she does not want to impeach the president. She said that it’s “not worth it” unless there’s “compelling” evidence.
Making it clear that her decision was news, Pelosi told the Post that “divisive” impeachment proceedings would come with a high price that she could only justify if “there’s something ….compelling.”
Pelosi: I won’t impeach
“I’m not for impeachment. 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 Washington Post. “But since you asked, and I’ve been thinking about this: Impeachment is so divisive to the country that unless there’s something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan, I don’t think we should go down that path, because it divides the country.”
“And he’s just not worth it,” she continued.
While she admits that impeachment is unrealistic, Pelosi hasn’t changed her personal opinions about the president. She told the Post that she feels Trump is unfit for office.
“No. No. I don’t think he is [fit]. I mean ethically unfit. Intellectually unfit. Curiosity-wise unfit,” she said. “No, I don’t think he’s fit to be president of the United States.”
Pelosi risks angering far left
Pelosi’s announcement will surely disappoint the far-left and freshman Democrats who came to the Capitol in January vowing to “impeach the “mother***er,” but caution about impeachment has been her tack since she took up the speaker’s gavel. It’s just one of the differences between the Speaker and the progressive caucus that she has been struggling to manage lately.
Pelosi’s decision to condemn “all hate” in place of anti-Semitism last week, in response to comments from freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), left some saying that she had lost control of the party. Pelosi’s impeachment announcement shows the speaker asserting some control again, even as fissures continue to grow.
While some Democrats including Rep. Al Green (D-TX) and Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) have filed articles of impeachment previously, the movement has failed to gain traction in Congress outside a vocal fringe. Impeachment drumbeats continue steadily in the media and in the progressive caucus, with Green and freshman Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), promising to force articles of impeachment. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) also questioned Pelosi’s decision, while activist billionaire Tom Steyer, founder of Need to Impeach, expressed disappointment.
“Speaker Pelosi thinks `he’s just not worth it?’ Well, is defending our legal system `worth it?’ Is holding the president accountable for his crimes and cover-ups `worth it?’ Is doing what’s right `worth it?’ Or shall America just stop fighting for our principles and do what’s politically convenient,” Steyer said.
Hedging her bets
The dilemma for Democrats is whether to proceed with impeachment without bi-partisan support and risk alienating moderates, or anger the progressive caucus by holding back. While “impeach” is a popular left-wing slogan, the idea has been met with apprehension when considered more realistically by House Democrats. With a majority of voters opposing impeachment, party leadership has had to carefully weigh the path forward.
Speculation has brewed for months on whether Democrats would go too far as Robert Mueller’s investigation reportedly plods towards a conclusion with evidence of collusion proving elusive. Pelosi’s announcement comes as Democrats have begun to dial back expectations that Mueller’s investigation of collusion will bring them the impeachment bombshell they’ve been patiently expecting for two years.
Picking up the baton from Mueller, House Democrats, led by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), have launched a spate of investigations into Trump’s finances, Russia ties, and family that are widely seen as a prelude to impeachment.
Despite taking an aggressive path towards Trump, Nadler and House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) indicated they will follow Pelosi’s lead in setting a high bar, with Nadler claiming that impeachment is “far off” and Schiff saying Pelosi made the “absolutely right” decision. However, given Schiff’s promise to continue investigating Trump regardless of Mueller’s findings, and claims that there is “direct evidence” of collusion, some might question if these promises are in good faith.
Pelosi’s decision might disappoint the far-left, but it might be what’s best for her party.
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