‘Feel free to leak this’: Inside the Pelosi-Nadler Impeachment Schism
The longtime allies are increasingly in conflict over the push to oust President Donald Trump.
House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler and Speaker Nancy Pelosi have been increasingly at odds over the Judiciary Committee’s impeachment investigation. | J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo
In a closed-door meeting last week, Speaker Nancy Pelosi stunned lawmakers and aides with a swipe at Democratic staff on the House Judiciary Committee.
Pelosi criticized the panel’s handling of impeachment in harsh terms, complaining committee aides have advanced the push for ousting President Donald Trump far beyond where the House Democratic Caucus stands. Democrats simply don’t have the votes on the floor to impeach Trump, Pelosi said.
“And you can feel free to leak this,” Pelosi added, according to multiple people in the room. Pelosi’s office declined to comment on the meeting.
It was the latest sign of the widening schism between Pelosi and Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, two longtime allies who are increasingly in conflict over where to guide the party at one of its most critical moments.
Both Pelosi and Nadler, who have served in the House together for more than 25 years, insist their relationship remains strong. But their rift over impeachment is getting harder and harder to paper over amid Democrats’ flailing messaging on the topic and a growing divide in the caucus.
Whether the two veteran lawmakers can get on the same page will determine whether the party avoids a rupture that threatens its chances of holding on to the House majority and beating Trump in 2020.
“I think the speaker wants to be careful of all the different members of the caucus,” said Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and a vocal impeachment advocate. “She doesn’t always want to use the word ‘impeachment’ but believe me, she signed off on every piece of what has been put forward.”
Yet the gap between Pelosi and Nadler has been on full display lately.
The Judiciary Committee held what it billed as its first “impeachment hearing” on Tuesday with former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, whose outright refusal to answer questions only bolstered Democrats’ impeachment investigation, Nadler said.
But at the very same moment, Pelosi was stressing in a private meeting with moderate Democrats that the caucus would be cautious as it approaches whether to move forward on impeachment, according to multiple attendees.
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