Nancy Pelosi Said She Thinks A Sitting President Can Be Indicted, So, Well Then
There's a new ruling family in the House as the 116th Congressional class was ushered in on Thursday, Jan. 3. The Democrats are now the majority, and at the helm is newly appointed speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, who might be ready to shake things up on Capitol Hill. At least, that's what it seems. During a Thursday appearance on the Today show ahead of her reclaiming the speaker's gavel, Nancy Pelosi said she thinks a sitting president can be indicted. Well, that bodes ominously for the White House.
Pelosi first served as Speaker of the House from 2007-2011, and on Thursday, Jan. 3, she reclaimed her role as speaker once again. Just before she stepped back into her old shoes, Pelosi sat down with Today's Savannah Guthrie on Thursday for an exclusive interview, during which they discussed the possibility of indicting a sitting president. It's a question that's seen a lot of debate in recent months, thanks to all of President Donald Trump's legal woes. However, there's a Department of Justice guidance dating back to 2000 that says a sitting president cannot be indicted because it would "unconstitutionally undermine" the ability of the executive branch to due their constitutional jobs. During their one-on-one chat, Guthrie asked Pelosi if she thinks Special Counsel Robert Mueller should "honor and observe" that guidance, which doesn't explicitly forbid indictment.
“I do not think that that is conclusive. No, I do not," Pelosi responded. Pressed for further comment specifically if she thinks Mueller would be able to indict President Donald Trump while he's still serving the office, Pelosi said, "I think that's an open discussion in terms of the law."
During the interview Pelosi also skirted around the idea that impeachment proceedings might be on the table. "We have to wait and see what happens with the Mueller report," Pelosi told Guthrie. "We shouldn't be impeaching for a political reason, and we shouldn't avoid impeachment for a political reason."
While Pelosi's impeachment comment on the Today show is not a hardline on what the House Democrats will do, they are a little warmer to the idea than her previous comments on a possible Trump impeachment. After Democrats clinched the win during the midterm elections in November 2018, Pelosi told CNBC, "I don't think there's any impeachment unless it's bipartisan." Pelosi also told PBS Newshour's Judy Woodruff on Nov. 6, "For those who want impeachment, that's not what our caucus is about."
It's still unclear whether on not Pelosi and the rest of the Democrat-controlled House will begin impeachment proceedings, but they will certainly have their hands full holding Trump and his administration accountable for any missteps. In a December interview with USA Today, Pelosi said that things are about to change for Trump because the new House will make sure to use the principle of checks and balances. She said,
He was used to serving with a Republican Congress, House and Senate that was a rubber stamp to him. That won't be the case. Oversight of government by the Congress is our responsibility.
In an effort to keep "oversight" on the government, it's likely Democrats will begin a series of investigations into some gray areas in the Trump administration. For instance, we could see a deeper dive into Mueller's investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 election.
Maybe as the reality of her reclaimed post sets in, her views on what the House Democrats might do in terms of impeachment will begin to shift.