(WASHINGTON) — A day after President Donald Trump walked out of a meeting with congressional Democrats, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi appeared emboldened by the fracas, capitalizing on the showdown to move past her party’s growing divisions regarding the prospect of impeaching the president.
The feud escalated further Thursday afternoon, when Trump, at a White House event, said, “She’s a mess.” “He pulled a stunt,” Pelosi told reporters at a news conference in the Capitol Thursday. “The president has a bag of tricks … for certain occasions. He’s a master of distraction.”Pelosi said she believes the president wants to goad congressional Democrats into launching an impeachment inquiry prematurely, which could doom Democrats in the eyes of an electorate that watches with curiosity.”What really got to him was that these court cases and the fact that the house democratic caucus is not on a path to impeachment. That’s where he wants us to be,” she said.
Pelosi said that Trump’s behavior “in terms of his obstruction of justice,” including ignoring congressional subpoenas “could be impeachment offenses.”
“We want to follow the facts to get the truth to the American people,” she said. “How we deal with [impeachment] is a decision that our caucus makes, and our caucus is very much saying whatever we do, we need to be ready when we do it.”But Pelosi made clear that impeachment is still premature. and potentially “a very divisive place to go in our country.””We can get the facts to the American people through our investigation. It may take us to a place that is unavoidable in terms of impeachment or not,” she said. “But we’re not at that place.”Pelosi said she continues to pray for Trump, and believes he needs “an intervention.”“Now this time, another temper tantrum,” she said. “I pray for the president of the United States. I wish that his family or his administration or his staff would have an intervention for the good of the country.”Trump gave his version of events in a tweet Thursday morning.Even though the president has ruled out cooperating on advancing bipartisan legislation until Democrats end their investigations into him and his administration, Democrats insist they are committed to salvaging an infrastructure package and stand ready and willing to work with Trump.”You have bought into his excuse. [Cover-up] was not a reason that he did that yesterday. That was an excuse for him to do that,” Pelosi said.Pelosi’s decision to accuse Trump of a “cover-up” Thursday infuriated the president, but the speaker emphasized it was not the first time she had suggested his conduct amounted to a cover up, and she claimed she did not intend to provoke Trump into an outburst that has all but ended any fleeting prospect of bipartisanship. Instead, she believes Trump “wasn’t up to the task of figuring out the difficult choices of how to cover the cost of the important infrastructure legislation.””There’s a question of the American people understanding that what he’s doing is an assault on the Constitution of the United States,” Pelosi said, justifying her caucus’s widening investigations. “We can walk and chew gum at the same time. I hope he can, too.””Whether it’s the crisis at the border, whether it’s infrastructure, or anything else. It’s very hard to have a meeting where you accuse the President of the United States of a crime and then an hour later show up and act as if nothing’s happened. The idea of that is insane,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters Thursday morning.”The president’s feelings weren’t hurt. She accused him of a crime. Let that sink in,” Sanders said. “She didn’t say I don’t like you. She accused him of committing a crime.”The top House Republican, Rep. Kevin McCarthy, speaking soon after Pelosi, called her claim the president is “engaged in cover-up” irresponsible.Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.