Trump battles with Democrats as impeachment pressure grows

11:43 a.m. ET, May 22, 2019

Trump: "I don't do cover-ups"

President Trump, speaking from the Rose Garden, addressed Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's comments that she believes the President engaged in a "cover-up."

"I don't do cover-ups," Trump said.

Remember: Pelosi and Trump were supposed to meet at the White House at 11 a.m. to talk about infrastructure.

Here's what he said:

"I came here to do a on infrastructure meeting with Democrats — not really thinking that they wanted to do infrastructure or anything else other than investigate. And I just saw that Nancy Pelosi, just before our meeting made a statement that we believe that 'the President of the United States is engaged in a cover-up.' It turns out I'm the most — I think most of you would agree to this — I'm the most transparent president probably in the history of this country."
11:43 a.m. ET, May 22, 2019

Trump convenes last-minute speech to slam Democrats

President Trump just convened last-minute remarks in the Rose Garden to lambast Democrats for their oversight efforts.

We are covering that live now.

11:10 a.m. ET, May 22, 2019

Nancy Pelosi: "There's no division" in the Democratic party

As she left the Capitol to head to a meeting at the White House, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi appeared to blame the media for pushing a narrative that the Democrats are divided.

"You all see something that is really not happening in our caucus. Our members honor their oath of office, have different views, but there's no division," she said.

Pelosi and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer are scheduled to meet with Trump this morning about infrastructure.

What this is all about: A growing number of Democrats are calling for Congress to begin impeachment proceedings against President Trump — a move Pelosi has not endorsed. For months, Pelosi has repeatedly shown hesitance to begin impeachment proceedings against the President, arguing it will divide the country.

11:02 a.m. ET, May 22, 2019

Nancy Pelosi told Democrats not to raise money based on their views of impeachment

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi told her Democratic colleagues this morning to not raise money of their positions on impeachment.

Where Pelosi stands on impeachment: She has repeatedly shown hesitance to begin impeachment proceedings against President Trump, justifying her position by saying that going after Trump is not "worth" the division impeachment would bring to the country.

"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. And he's just not worth it," she said in March.
10:58 a.m. ET, May 22, 2019

House progressive leader: Congress needs to do something "stronger," but it doesn't have to be impeachment

 

Alex Wong/Getty Images
Alex Wong/Getty Images

Rep. Mark Pocan, the co-chair of the congressional progressive caucus, said he still wants to see the House take “stronger” action — whatever that may be.

"I still very strongly that we need to do something stronger than what Congress has been doing," the Democrat said.

As he left this morning's meeting with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi— where the topic of impeaching President Trump came up — reporters asked him if whether he would be satisfied with something short of impeachment, like contempt votes on the floor or fines.

Pocan said it doesn’t matter, as long as it compels people like special counsel Robert Mueller and former White House counsel Don McGahn to testify.

“So I don’t care what we call it, I just want to make sure people do their civic duty and show up, and the President is trying to cover up what’s going on,” he said.
10:47 a.m. ET, May 22, 2019

Nancy Pelosi said contempt is on the table: sources

This morning, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi held a meeting with House Democrats as more party members call for impeachment proceedings against President Trump.

The main takeaway, per sources: The impeachment agitators are very much in the minority of the caucus and Pelosi allies believe this meeting helped prove the case.

Here's what Pelosi said, according to the sources:

  • On impeachment: At meeting, Pelosi didn’t talk about impeachment other than an off-hand remark after Rep. Maxine Waters said at the end of her presentation that Trump should be impeached.
  • On contempt: Responding to Rep. Gerry Connolly saying that Congress should use its inherent contempt powers, Pelosi said it’s on the table. The other chairmen didn’t bring up impeachment

Also of note: During the meeting, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez reiterated her calls for impeachment, saying doing so would put pressure on the Senate. Rep. David Cicilline and Jared Huffman said that they are for an impeachment inquiry.

10:19 a.m. ET, May 22, 2019

Why Nancy Pelosi doesn't want to start impeachment proceedings

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has repeatedly shown hesitance — and flat out refusal — to begin impeachment proceedings against President Trump.

She has justified her position by saying that going after Trump is not "worth" the division impeachment would bring to the country.

Here's what she said in March:

"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. And he's just not worth it."

She has also said that Trump "goading" Democrats into starting the process because "he knows that it would be very divisive in the country" and subsequently solidify his base.

A quick history lesson: In the middle of the 1998 impeachment of then-President Bill Clinton, House Republicans performed poorly in the midterm polls. Clinton, who stayed in office following the impeachment, left office with unusually high approval ratings.

Right now, many Democratic lawmakers are buying into the conventional wisdom that impeachment could consign them to the same fate as 1990s Republicans.

But remember: While the Republicans didn't do well in the midterms, less than two years after Clinton escaped with his job from a Senate impeachment trial, Republicans won the presidency after using the outgoing President's morals to underpin their campaign.