WASHINGTON — Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California, who has played down talk of impeachment for months, ratcheted up her objections to trying to remove President Trump from office in an interview published on Monday.
“I’m not for impeachment,” Ms. Pelosi told The Washington Post Magazine in the interview, which was conducted last week.
“Impeachment is so divisive to the country that unless there’s something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan, I don’t think we should go down that path, because it divides the country,” she added. “And he’s just not worth it.”
Ms. Pelosi has repeatedly made her aversion to impeachment clear in the past. But her remarks to The Post were more expansive than previous ones and are likely to irk some liberal rank-and-file members of Ms. Pelosi’s party trying to build support for it. Her remarks echoed the longstanding position of the House Judiciary Committee chairman, Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York, who has said he does not want to move forward with impeachment unless he has substantial Republican support.
The speaker and other party leaders believe that, barring a startling new revelation of wrongdoing, Democrats are better off trying to beat Mr. Trump at the polls in 2020 than going down the impeachment path. A failed attempt to impeach Mr. Trump and remove him from office, they fear, would only embolden the president’s staunchest supporters and could improve his odds of re-election.
Instead, Democratic leaders have poured their energy into a growing list of investigations — into Mr. Trump’s ties to Russia, potential foreign financial leverage over his businesses or administration, and whether Mr. Trump or those around him obstructed justice, abused power or engaged in otherwise corrupt acts, among other topics.
At least two wild cards remain: federal prosecutors in New York who are scrutinizing Mr. Trump’s business and inaugural committee, and Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel who is investigating the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia and whether the president obstructed justice. Mr. Mueller is believed to be nearing the end of his investigation.
Pressed for her views on Mr. Trump’s fitness for office, Ms. Pelosi gave The Post an unsparing assessment, but said it was Democrats’ responsibility to draw attention to the effects of his policies.
“I mean, ethically unfit, intellectually unfit, curiosity-wise unfit,” Ms. Pelosi said. “No, I don’t think he’s fit to be president of the United States.”
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