House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sent a letter to her Democratic colleagues Monday urging a pragmatic approach to impeachment, along with a blistering acknowledgment that Democrats are on their own in terms of holding Donald Trump to account for the conduct revealed in the redacted Russia report.
At a minimum, Trump had engaged in “highly unethical and unscrupulous behavior,” Pelosi charged, adding that “Congressional Republicans have an unlimited appetite for such low standards.”
At the same time, Pelosi said Democrats “firmly agree that we should proceed down a path of finding the truth.” That endeavor could be accomplished, she noted, “outside of impeachment hearings.” While Pelosi acknowledged a split in approaches among Democratic lawmakers between those who prefer to continue investigating Robert Mueller’s findings and those who would move directly to impeachment proceedings, she remained focused on the public’s perception of Democrats’ actions in the days and weeks to come.
“As we proceed to uncover the truth and present additional needed reforms to protect our democracy, we must show the American people we are proceeding free from passion or prejudice, strictly on presentation of fact.” Key to that approach is Democrats’ ongoing effort to gain access to Mueller’s full report, including a bicameral letter from Democratic leaders rejecting Attorney General William Barr’s desire make more of the the report available to only a small number of lawmakers.
“We insist on the public’s right to know,” Pelosi wrote, “so that the American people can learn the truth and Congress can make our decision on how to proceed.”
Pelosi is clearly betting that a full public airing of Mueller’s report will bring most Americans closer to the view that Trump is not only dangerously unfit for office, but should be held accountable for his actions by someone. But as Democrats proceed, Pelosi will continue to remind the public that her caucus is duty-bound to act, precisely because Republicans don’t have the moral fiber to do so.