By instructing former White House counsel Don McGahn not to testify before Congress, President Donald Trump is “engaged in a coverup,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters after meeting with her fellow Democrats.
Speaking after a “very positive” closed-doors meeting with House Democrats on Wednesday, Pelosi said that “it’s important to follow the facts,” adding: “we believe that the president of the United States is engaged in a coverup.”
The meeting came one day after former White House counsel Don McGahn declined to appear before a House Judiciary Committee hearing on the findings of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s final report. The White House and President Trump insist that McGahn cannot be compelled to testify before the committee.
Although the Mueller report found that Trump did not collude with Russia in the runup to the 2016 election, and found insufficient evidence of obstruction, Judiciary Committee chair Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-New York) has pressed for the release of an unredacted version of the report, and called on McGahn, as well as former McGahn aide Annie Donaldson and former White House communications director Hope Hicks to testify.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders accused Nadler and his fellow Democrats of wanting a “wasteful and unnecessary do-over” of the Mueller investigation, while Trump tweeted “the Witch Hunt continues!”
Prior to the closed-doors meeting, a number of Democrats called for President Trump’s impeachment. Pelosi, however, has heard similar calls for the last two years and has remained opposed to the idea, calling it a waste of political capital and unnecessarily divisive.
Pelosi’s position has not changed, nor has her hold over her party weakened. However, by stating on Wednesday that she believes Trump engaged in misconduct, the speaker could be giving the more fervent anti-Trump voices in her party a sympathetic nod.
Pelosi is due to meet with Trump later on Wednesday to discuss the president’s bipartisan, $2 trillion infrastructure plan. However, talks over the current standoff between the White House and the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives will likely be unavoidable.