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Published: Wednesday, May 22, 2019 @ 10:40 AM
— Facing pressure within Democratic Party ranks to open an official impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday vowed to 'follow the facts' of any investigations related to the President and his administration, bluntly accusing Mr. Trump of doing all he can to block oversight related to the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 elections.
"We believe it’s important to follow the facts. We believe that no one is above the law including the President of the United States," Pelosi said after a closed door meeting of House Democrats.
"And we believe the President of the United States is engaged in a cover-up, in a cover-up," Pelosi told reporters.
JUST IN: Speaker Pelosi says "we believe the president of the United States is engaged in a cover up" by stonewalling testimony for ongoing congressional investigations. pic.twitter.com/7ILMb95vZM— NBC News (@NBCNews) May 22, 2019
Pelosi's advice to her House Democratic Caucus has been to hold off on starting any official impeachment effort, and instead focus on holding hearings, getting documents, sending out subpoenas, taking their document fights to the courts, and increasing the pressure on the President with those actions.
The Speaker touted the success of one of those efforts on Wednesday, as she noted that the House Intelligence Committee - after using its subpoena power - pressured the Justice Department into providing the panel with more counter intelligence information which was generated by the Russia investigation.
"The Intelligence Committee talked about the documents that the Justice Department is now willing to convey," Pelosi said, using that as one example of how Democrats are slowly getting information from the Trump Administration - without the need to take a step towards impeachment hearings.
"We have to be patient as we plow along," said Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA), a member of the House Judiciary Committee, who said now is not the time to start an impeachment effort by that panel.
"We've got to have evidence," Johnson told me. "We can't just take the Mueller Report."
But Democrats have encountered numerous hurdles set up by the President and the White House in terms of getting the underlying evidence of the Mueller Report, getting testimony from Mueller, hearing from former White House Counsel Don McGahn, and more.
"The potential reasons to cite impeachment have been growing," said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY).
The time has come for the House of Representatives to open an impeachment inquiry into the conduct of President Trump. pic.twitter.com/WXOmMCakl0— Rep. Don Beyer (@RepDonBeyer) May 21, 2019
"I believe the facts fully justify an impeachment inquiry," said Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA), who was joined by Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) in calling for a start to official proceedings against the President.
For now, Speaker Pelosi is still resisting that course - but making it very plain that she agrees with fellow Democrats about what they are seeing.
"It was a very positive meeting; a respectful sharing of ideas," Pelosi said.