WASHINGTON – Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Wednesday President Donald Trump is engaged in a “cover-up” to hide possible evidence that could be used in an attempt to impeach him.
“It’s important to follow the facts. We believe that no one is above the law, including the president of the United States,” Pelosi told reporters at the US Capitol after a closed-door meeting with other lawmakers from her party. “And we believe that the president of the United States is engaged in a cover-up and that was the nature of the meeting.”
According to the Democratic leader, Trump is trying to block the steps Congress is taking to obtain testimony and documents on the investigation into the so-called Russia probe.
Earlier, House Democrats met to discuss their future course of action on this matter.
Meanwhile, also on Wednesday, Trump abruptly ended a meeting with Democratic lawmakers by flatly declaring that he will not work with them on matters of any kind unless they stop investigating him.
The meeting had been scheduled to discuss how to address the problems affecting US infrastructure, but after he left the meeting Trump lambasted Pelosi for her “cover-up” comment earlier in the day. He demanded in the Rose Garden before reporters and television cameras that Congress halt its investigations into his conduct and that of his staff.
“I walked into the room and I told (Senate Minority) Leader (Chuck) Schumer and Speaker Pelosi I want to do infrastructure,” he said. “But you know what, we can’t do it under these circumstances. So get these phony investigations over.”
In recent days, several Democrats have insisted that launching impeachment proceedings against Trump is a real possibility.
According to Pelosi, who has been resisting beginning impeachment procedures up to this point, the meeting with fellow Democrats to discuss their strategy was “productive,” although she did not provide further details about the possibility of impeaching the president.
Almost half of the Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee have expressed their support for opening an investigation into possible obstruction of justice by the president.
In April, the Department of Justice released a redacted version of the report on the Russia investigation prepared by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, a report that failed to find “sufficient evidence” of collusion between Trump’s 2016 president campaign and the Kremlin but leaving the question open as to whether or not the president attempted to obstruct justice during the course of that probe.
In his report, Mueller suggested that it is Congress who should move to investigate the matter of obstruction further, setting forth 10 instances in which Trump acted to choke off the investigation.
Congress also demanded that Attorney General William Barr turn over the entire unredacted Mueller report – along with all accompanying documents – to lawmakers, a request that Barr has rejected.
This week, the White House ordered former White House counsel Don McGahn to ignore a subpoena to appear before the House Judiciary Committee to provide sworn testimony regarding the Russia probe.
“The Department of Justice has provided a legal opinion stating that, based on long-standing, bipartisan, and constitutional precedent, the former counsel to the president cannot be forced to give such testimony, and Mr. McGahn has been directed to act accordingly,” said White House press secretary Sarah Sanders in a statement.
“This action has been taken in order to ensure that future presidents can effectively execute the responsibilities of the office of the presidency,” she asserted.