Pelosi: 'The Stronger Our (Impeachment) Case Is, the Worse the Senate Will Look'

By Susan Jones | July 25, 2019 | 5:17am EDT
Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff speaks alongside House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Reps. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), and Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), at a news conference after the former Special Counsel Robert Mueller's testimony on July 24, 2019. (Photo by Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images)

( - "If we have a case for impeachment, that's the place we will have to go," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told a news conference late Wednesday afternoon, following Robert Mueller's appearance before two House committees.

But Democrats are not there yet, she said several times:

"My position has always been, whatever decision we make in that regard would have to be done with our strongest possible hand, and we still have some outstanding matters in the courts. It's about the Congress, the Constitution and the courts. And we are fighting the president in--in the courts."

Pelosi said an impeachment proceeding must be "based on the facts."

"The facts and the law, that's what matters. Not politics--not partisanship, just patriotism. I don't care what the--I mean I'd like the Senate to be responsible and honor their oath of office to protect and defend the Constitution -- to see the challenge this is to the national security, what the Russians are trying to do to our country. But the stronger our case is, the worse the Senate will look for just letting the president off the hook."

The Democrats' information-gathering process, including court cases, won't be "endless," Pelosi promised.

"As they say, there's a cone of silence in the White House that is engaged in a massive coverup and the obstruction of justice. Those obstruction of justice charges that have been demonstrated today in the hearings...could be indictable offenses by anybody else...and the president when he's no longer president.

"But the American people, I think, if we go down that path, we should go down the strongest possible way and that's all I'm going to say about the subject."

Appearing with Pelosi, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), chairman of the Judiciary Committee, discussed the Democrats' next steps:

"The very next step either tomorrow or Friday is we're going into court to enforce--to ask for the grand jury material and to enforce the subpoena against Mr. McGahn. And that's particularly important because the excuses--and I won't call them reasons--the excuses that the White House gives for McGahn not testifying the nonsense about absolute immunity, etceter, are the same excuses for all the other fact witnesses. And if we break that, we will break the logjam."

Nadler said Mueller's testimony painted a picture of "what's going on -- a picture of someone who gladly accepted help from a foreign power interested in subverting our election, our democratic election process, and that's what it is, subverting our election process and taking the choice of our president, to some extent, away from the American people.

"That's what the Russians attempted to do, and that's with the Trump campaign welcomed them in doing. A president who engages in crimes, repeated crimes to cover up these unpatriotic and--and dictatorial actions, this cannot go on and it's up to Congress to safeguard the Constitution, and we will do it."

Two other committee chairs, Adam Schiff of the intelligence committee, and Elijah Cummings of the oversight committee, also took part in the news conference.

Schiff said he agrees with Pelosi on impeachment: "Maybe I'm just an old prosecutor, but before I brought a case to indictment, I wanted to make sure that I had the strongest evidence possible. I wanted to understand my case, I wanted to be able to make my case."

Schiff noted that there are two juries in an impeachment -- the Senate and the American people. "And I'm most concerned about the jury that is the American people. And before we embark on a course as significant to the country as the impeachment of a president, I want to make sure that we can make that case to the jury of the American people."

At the close of the news conference, Pelosi urged the assembled reporters, "I hope you will be messengers of the truth to the public. We think today was really a milestone in making that--that sentiment be more informed."

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