Pelosi resists growing calls for Trump’s impeachment after Mueller statement – The Guardian

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Three 2020 candidates and more than 40 representatives call for impeachment, but Pelosi reportedly says it’s a ‘fool’s errand’ Robert Mueller speaks at the Department of Justice Wednesday in Washington. Photograph: Carolyn Kaster/AP House speaker Nancy Pelosi is continuing to resist pressure to begin impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump, despite Robert Mueller’s declaration that he could not clear the president of criminal activity. Three prominent Democratic presidential candidates have joined more than 40 House representatives in calling for impeachment proceedings. But Pelosi tamped down expectations, reportedly describing the process as a “fool’s errand”. Mueller broke his two-year public silence on Wednesday to deny that Trump is innocent of a crime. He said: “If we had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said that.” Pelosi has long opposed impeaching Trump, and stood by that decision despite intensified demands for the House to bring charges. She said on Wednesday: “You don’t bring an impeachment unless you have all the facts.” Axios reported that Pelosi was even more defiant in private. One ally told the website that Pelosi felt as strongly as ever that impeachment would be foolhardy heading into the 2020 election. Pelosi has said Trump is “goading” Democrats into impeaching him, since the president believes it would solidify his base support. How to impeach a US president – video In a dramatic nine-minute statement, Mueller, whose report on Russian election interference and Trump campaign links to Moscow was published last month, contradicted Trump’s claim of “exoneration”. In his first public remarks since the investigation began, Mueller said: “We make a determination as to whether the president did commit a crime.” Mueller added that charging Trump with a crime was “not an option we could consider”, because of justice department policy. Many Democrats interpreted Mueller’s comments as a go-ahead for Congress to begin the process of bringing charges against Trump. Democratic 2020 presidential hopefuls Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand and Pete Buttigieg for the first time called for the House to begin impeachment proceedings against Trump following Mueller’s statement. Booker insisted there is now “one remaining path to ensure justice is served”. He said: “It is our legal and moral obligation to hold those who have committed crimes accountable. It’s clear that the House must begin impeachment proceedings. No one is above the law.” Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris and Beto O’Rourke, along with other 2020 candidates, have previously called for the House to begin impeachment proceedings. About 40 House Democrats have publicly said Trump should be impeached, along with lone Republican Justin Amash. In a statement, Gillibrand said the White House had “repeatedly stonewalled” Congress’ investigations into Trump. She said: “Combined with the fact that Robert Mueller clearly expects Congress to exercise its constitutional authority and take steps that he could not, it’s time for Republicans and Democrats to begin impeachment hearings and follow the facts wherever they may lead.” But Pelosi lowered expectations following an event in San Francisco, telling reporters only 15% of House Democrats openly support impeachment. Though the Democrats hold a majority in the House, the Republicans hold the Senate. She said: “We won’t be swayed by a few people who think one way or another who are running for president, as much as I respect all of them and they have the freedom to be for impeachment. “We have the responsibility to get a result for the American people and that’s where we’re going.”