Flashback-Pelosi: ‘It Is a Gift to Republicans to Talk About Impeachment’

By Craig Bannister | September 30, 2019 | 5:02pm EDT
House Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi
(Getty Images/Alex Wong)

On April 26, 2018, then-House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was asked by a reporter if she agreed with former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid that Democrats should not talk about impeaching President Donald Trump. Pelosi said Democrats would be better off talking about how they're making Americans' lives better - a sentiment she repeated three months later.

As reported at the time, Pelosi said she did agree – and that such talk would be “a gift to Republicans.” “I discourage any discussion of impeachment,” Pelosi added.

Instead, Pelosi said, Democrats should be talking about how they plan to help working families by raising wages and lowering costs:

Question: Earlier this week Harry Reid did an interview and he said Democrats should not talk about impeachment of the President. Do you agree with that?

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi: Well, I have said over and over again that I don’t think that we should be talking about impeachment. I have been very clear right from the start. There is a process at work that will either yield or not, information that will be dispositive of that issue.

But I said to–this is an election that we must win for our children and for the fate of the nation. And this election is not about what is going on in the White House and the rest of that, it is about our addressing the needs of the American people. And we cannot take our eye off that ball. So I have been criticized – they criticized me when I was Speaker before for not impeaching President Bush.

So, again, impeachment is a very serious matter. If it happens, it has to be a bipartisan initiative. I don’t think that we have the information to go to that place, and I discourage any discussion of impeachment.

On the political side, I think it is a gift to the Republicans to talk about impeachment. What we want to talk about is what they are doing to undermine working families in our country, and what we are doing to increase their payroll and lower their costs.

Then, in July of 2018, Pelosi repeated her belief that Democrats should focus on telling Americans “how we will improve their lives” and not make the mistake of giving “a gift” to Republicans by pursuing impeachment.

In an interview with Rolling Stone, Pelosi explained the political dangers of pursuing impeachment:

Reporter:What’s your thinking on impeachment?

Pelosi: I think it’s a gift to the Republicans.

Reporter: Expand on that.

Pelosi: Because people really want to know how we will improve their lives. We don’t really know what Mueller has. We have a responsibility, if we have information, to act upon it. But we don’t know what Mueller has. Republicans in the House have completely blocked any investigations – to a stupid extent, in my view.

But when I was elected speaker, people wanted me to impeach Bush. In the streets [chanting]: “Impeach Bush!” I thought the war in Iraq was sinful. I was Adam Schiff [the ranking member on the Intelligence Committee] at that time, going into the war. So I knew everything that they had. And they didn’t have anything that said Iraq was developing nuclear weapons. They didn’t have weapons of mass destruction! It would be like me saying there’s 20 puppies on this table. It wasn’t there! Nobody could show it to you. It was a complete lie. But nonetheless he got re-elected.

Going into the [‘06] election, I said it’s off the table. I didn’t mean it’s off the table if you had some goods. If somebody has information, then we can act upon it. But from what we know now, it’s off the table.


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