House Speaker Nancy Pelosi did not write off the possibility of moving on impeachment against President Donald Trump as she explained her continued opposition to formally opening the process.
“It’s not off the table,” Pelosi said Tuesday, adding, “I don’t think you should impeach for political reasons, and I don’t think you should not impeach for political reasons.”
Pelosi made her comments in an interview with CNN’s Manu Raju at the Peter G. Peterson Foundation’s Fiscal Summit.
Pelosi has continued to oppose beginning the impeachment process against Trump as increasing members of the Democratic Party, both on the campaign trail and in her caucus, have voiced support for opening an impeachment inquiry.
CNN previously reported that last week House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, a New York Democrat, lobbied Pelosi to support an impeachment inquiry, and former Nevada Democratic Sen. Harry Reid, Pelosi’s old Senate counterpart, likewise called on the House to move on impeachment.
In her interview on Tuesday, Pelosi said the efficacy of an impeachment inquiry was “a question to be asked” and suggested it could leave her party in the same place with regard to its ongoing battle with the Trump administration for documents and testimony.
“If you open an impeachment inquiry, do you get more information?” Pelosi said. “You still end up in the court.”
Pelosi pointed to a recently announced deal with the Justice Department for documents from the Mueller report as one victory in support of the House’s current approach.
Still, the House is scheduled to vote – hours after Pelosi spoke – on a resolution that includes language authorizing the Judiciary Committee to go to court to force Attorney General William Barr and former White House counsel Don McGahn to comply with their subpoenas, though Monday’s agreement means that Nadler won’t take any court action against Barr – at least for now.
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.”
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.
This story has been updated with additional developments Tuesday.
CNN’s Ashley Killough, Clare Foran and Jeremy Herb contributed to this report.