Ocasio-Cortez rips Pelosi’s reluctance to impeach Trump, says left’s frustration is ‘quite real’

June 17, 2019

Progressives are losing patience with Nancy Pelosi’s reluctance to launch impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said Sunday.

The unofficial leader of the Democrats’ progressive wing said that there is “quite real” frustration on the left with House Speaker Pelosi’s slow-walking approach. AOC (D-NY) is among those Democrats calling for Trump’s immediate impeachment, but Pelosi has held back.

“I think that impeachment is incredibly serious, and this is about the presence and evidence that the president may have committed a crime, in this case, more than one. And so I believe that our decision on impeachment should be based in our constitutional responsibilities and duties and not in elections or polling,” Ocasio-Cortez said on ABC’s This Week.

AOC left frustrated

The freshman congresswoman’s comment on elections is a direct reference to Pelosi’s sensitivity to public opinion on impeachment. Pelosi (CA) has long kept impeachment at arms’ length out of fear of overreach.

Even as calls for impeachment grow within her ranks, Pelosi Jerry shown little sign of shifting her approach. Powerful committee leaders like House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), whose panel has power over impeachment, have mostly hewed to Pelosi’s prudent tack.

Commenting on rising Democrat frustration Sunday, AOC said that there is a palpable desire to hold Trump “accountable” — but not through Pelosi’s methodical strategy.

“I think it’s quite real. I believe that there is a very real animus and desire to make sure that we are — that — that we are holding this president to account.”

Impeachment is not in favor with the majority, but a new poll shows that more Democrats now support it than they did last month. Democrats’ impeachment crusade gained momentum after Robert Mueller declared last month, in his first and only comments on his investigation, that indicting Trump was “not an option.” Democrats took Mueller’s remarks as a signal that he was leaving Congress to hold Trump to account for his alleged crimes.

Impeachment fury grew even more last week after Trump told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that he would be open to accepting foreign opposition research on his election rival.

“Well, I think every day that passes the pressure to impeach grows and I think that it’s justifiable, I think the evidence continues to come in and I believe that with the president now saying that he is willing to break the law to win re-election, that — that goes — that transcends partisanship, it transcends party lines and this is now about the rule of law in the United States of America,” AOC said.

Pelosi holding the line

While Robert Mueller did not find that Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia, the special counsel did not say whether Trump obstructed justice. Democrats have ramped up calls to impeach Trump over alleged obstruction of justice, with some Democrats saying that Trump has left them no option but impeachment as he blocks their numerous congressional subpoenas and investigations — which Trump has blasted as an attempt to “re-do” the Mueller probe.

Pelosi has sought to soothe restive members of her caucus with promises that Trump will somehow be held accountable, even if Democrats don’t impeach Trump. While accusing Trump of a criminal “cover-up,” Pelosi has not matched that extreme rhetoric with drastic action.

The speaker has instead advised Democrats to focus on “finding the facts” first, but according to AOC and Democrats like Sen. Elizabeth Warren (MA), the Mueller report lays out enough evidence of obstruction of justice to justify immediate impeachment, regardless of the political risk.

Nancy weighs the options

Pelosi reportedly told Democrats behind closed doors recently that she wants Democrats to force Trump from office at the ballot box in 2020 and then have Trump prosecuted, rather than impeach him now. But AOC called out Pelosi’s line as a toothless palliative that would stop Democrats from taking substantial action.

“I just don’t see the relevancy in calling for prosecution after he leaves office. We have the ability to actually kind of play out our responsibilities now. We have power now. And to bump it to when we don’t have power I don’t think makes a whole lot of sense in terms of speaking about it,” AOC said.

A proxy battle between Pelosi and Ocasio-Cortez has played out over the past several months since AOC entered Congress. Pelosi has taken numerous veiled jabs at AOC, especially over her climate change plan, the Green New Deal, amid a running commentary over whether Pelosi is losing control to AOC’s progressive wing.

Numerous policies championed by the progressive upstart have left a mark on the Democratic primary, with ideas like Medicare for All and the Green New Deal taking center stage in the Democratic debate. But while freshman members of Pelosi’s caucus have caused continual headaches for the Speaker, Pelosi seems to be in control for now — and impeachment remains out of reach.

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Matthew Boose

Matthew Boose is a staff writer for Conservative Institute. He has a Bachelor's degree from Stony Brook University and has contributed to The Daily Caller and The Stony Brook Press.