House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told CNN’s Manu Raju on Tuesday that she’s “done” with President Donald Trump but would not say whether she told Democrats behind closed doors that she’d rather see Trump “in prison.”
“I’m done with him,” Pelosi told Raju at the Fiscal Summit from the Peter G. Peterson Foundation.
“I don’t even want to talk about him,” she said, adding, “My stock goes up every time he attacks me, so what can I say, but let’s not spend too much time on that because that’s his victory, the diverter-in-chief, the diverter-of-attention-in-chief.”
Tensions between Pelosi and Trump have escalated in the past week after Pelosi reportedly told Democratic leaders in private that she wants to see the President “in prison.” When asked about whether she made the remarks, Pelosi said she would keep what she told fellow Democrats behind closed doors private.
“Did you actually say that, did you actually say that the President, you’d rather see him in prison,?” Raju asked.
Pelosi responded, “When we have conversations in our caucus they stay in our caucus. Do people think there’s some impeachable offenses that the President committed? Yes. How serious are they? Are they criminal? Many people think they are.”
The President lashed out at Pelosi over the “prison” comments last Thursday in an interview with Fox News, calling her a “nasty, vindictive, horrible person.” The interview took place on the 75th anniversary of D-Day while Trump was at the Normandy American Cemetery in France. Pelosi contrasted her behavior in Normandy with the President’s saying that when she was interviewed she deliberately did not attack the President.
“The first rule of our (congressional delegation) is we never criticize a president of the United States when we are overseas. We have plenty of time to do that when we’re back home,” she said.
During the same interview, Pelosi said that an impeachment inquiry is “not off the table,” but also downplayed the possibility that House Democrats will go down the path of impeachment.
When asked if she would support an inquiry if a majority of her caucus wants to go forward with it, the speaker dismissed the question, saying that “it’s not even close in our caucus” and later saying, “why are we even speculating on hypotheticals?”
Right now, there are around 60 House Democrats who support an inquiry, a number that has risen in recent weeks but is still a fraction of the overall total of House Democrats.
Pelosi has so far resisted starting an impeachment inquiry, even as a growing number of House Democrats have said publicly they are in favor of starting one.
The House speaker has consistently downplayed the possibility of impeachment and has outlined a high bar for the criteria she would want to see met before moving forward, including that she would want to see bipartisan support. And so far, only one Republican lawmaker in Congress has indicated they would support an impeachment inquiry: Justin Amash of Michigan.
When pressed on whether she believes the President has committed crimes in office, Pelosi said special counsel Robert Mueller’s report demonstrates evidence of obstruction of justice, but then declined to talk about it further.
“I think the Mueller report very clearly spells out at least 10 or 11 instances of obstruction of justice, but I’m not here to have that discussion,” she said at the event. “That’s for the committees.”
Raju also asked Pelosi if she does believe the President may have committed crimes, doesn’t she have an obligation to pursue an impeachment inquiry?
“My obligation is to do whatever we do in the most effective way possible,” she responded.