WASHINGTON – Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi maintained on Thursday a firm stance vis-a-vis President Donald Trump, whom she accuses of being engaged in a cover-up of documents and testimony that – were that information to become known – could provide grounds for launching impeachment proceedings aimed at removing him from office.
At her weekly press conference at the Capitol on Thursday, Pelosi said that the president is staging an “assault” on the US Constitution.
“He pulled a stunt,” she said, referring to Trump’s walking out of a meeting with her and other top lawmakers on Wednesday after demanding that they halt their investigations of him.
“The president has a bag of tricks and the White House has a bag of tricks that they save for certain occasions. They don’t necessarily apply to the occasion, but they’re a distraction,” she said, adding that his abrupt cancellation of their meeting – which lasted less than five minutes – was “another temper tantrum.”
On Wednesday morning, Pelosi said that Trump was clearly engaged in a “cover-up” to protect himself from being held accountable for assorted felonies – namely obstruction of justice – and later met with the president at the White House, a meeting at which Trump threatened not to work with congressional Democrats any longer unless they stop investigating him, then stormed out of the meeting, only to show up moments later in the Rose Garden to hold a press conference at which he declared that “I don’t do cover-ups” and where he claimed to be the “most transparent” president in history.
Pelosi has said that it was clear that Trump had obstructed justice by ordering several of his aides not to testify before Congress – despite being subpoenaed to do so – regarding the investigation known as the Russia probe headed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
She said that Trump’s actions detailed in the Mueller report and since its conclusion could be impeachable offenses and constitute the reason why impeachment proceedings could be launched against him, but she insisted that the Democratic caucus was still in the information gathering stage and not yet at the point where they were willing to take that step.
She also said, however, that Trump wants to goad Democrats in the House to launch impeachment proceedings to distract the public from his administration’s “many scandals.”
“I wish that his family or his administration or his staff would have an intervention for the good of the country,” Pelosi said, adding that she is praying for both Trump and the nation.
“Maybe he wants to take a leave of absence,” she said, and when asked if she is concerned about the president’s well-being, she replied, “I am.”
Pelosi’s “cover-up” remark evidently infuriated Trump, who hit back at her and other Democrats by storming out of their Wednesday meeting, which had ostensibly been to discuss how to address US infrastructure needs.
The president, however, on Thursday denied that he had been angry at the Wednesday meeting – which was also attended by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, who confirmed Pelosi’s account – claiming that the Democrats and the “fake news media” had invented that reaction.
“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 on Thursday.
“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.”