House Speaker Nancy Pelosi give her weekly press conference on Thursday, where she was eager to speak about all sorts of things: President Donald Trump shifting money away from children to build his wall, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s grotesque inaction on meaningful gun legislation, the administration’s much-hyped USMCA trade deal and more. What she absolutely did not want to spend another minute talking about was whether Democrats are actually making moves to impeach Trump or not.
Asked whether she would “concede” that this morning’s vote in the Judiciary Committee to approve impeachment proceeding guidelines—the first such official vote on the subject—means that impeachment itself is underway, a visibly irritated Pelosi snapped at the reporters, asking, “Have you not paid attention to what we’ve been talking about?”
Pelosi, who has steadfastly refused to acknowledge the obvious fact that, yes, slowly but surely the Judiciary Committee is moving ahead with impeachment, then rattled off a convoluted list of excuses for why what is clearly happening at this very moment is not the impeachment escalation it obviously is.
Insisting that the public “understand[s] that impeachment is a very divisive measure” (which the majority of her own House caucus supports), Pelosi granted that “if we have to go there, we’ll have to go there. But we can’t go there unless we have the facts,” and stressed that she wanted the American people to “respect that we were careful.”
“Legislate, investigate, litigate,” Pelosi offered as a mantra, before adding that she “supports” what the committee has done so far.
“We are, from a timing standpoint, where we need to be,” she also said.
Pelosi’s heel-dragging feels particularly counterproductive considering that after this morning’s vote passed, we’ve officially gone there. We’re there. That’s what the vote literally was. But rather than discuss just what has changed after the Judiciary Committee’s vote, Pelosi quashed the line of questioning entirely, declaring that she was done talking about impeachment.
Somehow, I don’t think this is the end of impeachment questions for the speaker. In fact, I think they’re just beginning.