House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on Thursday strongly condemned President Donald Trump’s recent remarks inviting foreign officials to provide him with opposition research during the 2020 campaign. She insisted, however, that it was still not the time to proceed with impeachment.
Asked why inviting foreign interference in an election, as Trump did Wednesday night, was not grounds for impeachment, Pelosi responded, “Not any one issue is going to trigger, ‘Oh, now we’ll go do this.’ Because it’s about investigating, it’s about litigating, it’s about getting the truth to hold everyone accountable and no one is above the law.”
House Democrats are currently conducting several investigations into the president and his businesses as a result of special counsel Robert Mueller’s nearly two-year long probe, which yielded indictments against 34 individuals and three Russian businesses. The president has so far rejected those efforts, choosing instead to defy congressional subpoenas for documents and testimony on the matter.
Pelosi said Thursday that Democrats would continue those investigations and would also introduce a legislative package “mandating that campaigns report foreign offers of assistance.”
“I mean, it’s so self-evident as a matter of ethic, but we’ll have to codify it,” she said.
“Everybody in the country should be totally appalled by what the president said last night,” she added. “He has a habit of making appalling statements. This one borders on so totally unethical, but he doesn’t even realize it. However, what we want to do is have a methodical approach to the path we’re on and this will be included in that.”
Pelosi also questioned Thursday whether Trump’s comments this week were proof that he did “not know right from wrong.”
“It’s a very sad thing,” she said. Calling Russia’s interference efforts during the 2016 election “an assault on our democracy,” and citing Trump’s repeated refusals to accept the consensus of the U.S. intelligence community, she added, “If he doesn’t know the difference [between right and wrong], it could explain some of his ridiculous behavior.”
In an interview with ABC News this week Trump said he would gladly accept dirt on a political opponent, if a foreign government offered it.
“If somebody called from a country, Norway, [and said] ‘we have information on your opponent’ — oh, I think I’d want to hear it,” he said.
He added, “It’s not an interference, they have information — I think I’d take it. If I thought there was something wrong, I’d go maybe to the FBI — if I thought there was something wrong. But when somebody comes up with oppo research, right, they come up with oppo research, ‘oh let’s call the FBI.’ The FBI doesn’t have enough agents to take care of it.”
Trump has claimed for years that he did not collude with Russia to swing the 2016 election in his favor. Even after the release of Mueller’s final report in April, which detailed extensive ties between the two sides, as well as at least 10 instances of possible obstruction involving the president, Trump doubled down, suggesting repeatedly that there was “no collusion” and “no obstruction.”
“The fact is that the phony Witch Hunt is a giant scam where Democrats and other really bad people, SPIED ON MY CAMPAIGN!” he tweeted Thursday. “…This is the biggest & worst political scandal in the history of the United States of America. Sad!”
Read more: thinkprogress.org