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Nancy Pelosi says Trump is engaged in a ‘cover-up’

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters Wednesday morning that President Donald Trump “is engaged in a cover-up.”

Her comments came following a morning Democratic caucus meeting, during which lawmakers continued sparring over the brewing possibility of impeaching Trump.

Some of the more liberal House Democrats have long pushed for Congress to launch impeachment proceedings against the president, but Pelosi and other top Democratic leaders are urging caution out of fear of political backlash ahead of the 2020 US election.

On Wednesday, Pelosi said “it was a very positive meeting” and there was a “respectful sharing of ideas.”

“We do believe that it’s important to follow the facts, we believe no one is above the law, including the President of the United States, and we believe that the President of the United States has engaged in a cover-up.”

Read more: The DOJ agreed to turn over Mueller counterintelligence documents to Congress that could answer many lingering Trump-Russia questions

Pelosi was likely referring to the White House’s continued stonewalling of any and all congressional inquiries into Trump’s conduct:

  • The House Judiciary Committee launched a wide-ranging investigation earlier this year into potential corruption, obstruction of justice, and abuse of power by Trump.
  • The House Financial Services and Intelligence committees are jointly investigating Trump’s business dealings.
  • The Intelligence Committee has also relaunched its Russia investigation.
  • The House Oversight Committee is investigating whether Trump violated ethics and financial disclosure laws by misrepresenting his income and net worth over the last several years.
  • The House Ways and Means Committee is fighting to get Trump’s tax returns to find out if he lied on his tax forms.

Trump in turn has instructed several current and former White House officials to reject congressional subpoenas for documents and testimony. He recently asserted executive privilege over the entire Mueller report and its underlying evidence. And he’s brought multiple lawsuits against Congress and financial institutions he’s done business with to block congressional inquiries.

Democratic Rep. Steve Cohen reportedly characterized Wednesday’s caucus meeting as an “orchestrated” presentation by House Democratic leaders meant to pump the brakes on talk of impeaching the president.

Instead, Pelosi wants to continue with the approach lawmakers are currently taking: launch sprawling investigations into the president and his associates, and fight the executive branch’s resistance in the courts.

But Pelosi used some of the strongest language yet in her Wednesday comments against Trump, which could indicate that even top Democratic leaders may eventually have to grapple with the possibility of impeachment.

Trump, meanwhile, reportedly wants to goad Democrats into impeaching him because he believes it’ll be a losing strategy going into the 2020 election.

Read more: A majority of American voters think they’re better off under Trump, but they still don’t like him, according to a new poll

It would also drive the focus away from the special counsel Robert Mueller’s final report in the Russia investigation, which was released last month and painted a damaging picture of a besieged White House and a president who repeatedly tried to obstruct the inquiry.

The president is also likely bracing himself for more fallout from the report. On Wednesday, the Justice Department agreed to begin turning over counterintelligence and foreign intelligence documents related to the Mueller probe to the House Intelligence Committee.

Those documents could go a long way in answering many of the lingering questions about the myriad Trump-Russia contacts that Mueller’s report didn’t answer, and they could open up new investigative avenues for House Democrats to pursue.

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