Pelosi not ruling out impeachment proceedings

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House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California holds a news conference at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018. Pelosi has all but ensured she will become House speaker next month, quelling a revolt by disgruntled younger Democrats by agreeing to limit her tenure to no more than four additional years in the chamber’s […]

WASHINGTON (AP) —Rep. Nancy Pelosi isn’t ruling out impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump, depending on findings by the special counsel investigating Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election.

Pelosi became House speaker Thursday and told NBC’s “Today” show, “we’ll have to wait and see what comes” from Robert Mueller’s probe of contacts between Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia.

Democrats are assuming the majority in the House, where the Constitution says impeachment proceedings must begin. Pelosi previously called impeachment a “divisive activity,” and Democrats were cautious about mentioning the “I” word during the 2018 midterms for fear it would backfire politically.

But Pelosi did not shy away from it Thursday. She said, “We shouldn’t be impeaching for a political reason, and we shouldn’t avoid impeachment for a political reason.”

It’s unclear that a sitting president can be indicted. Justice Department guidelines suggest he can’t. Pelosi calls it “an open discussion.” She adds, “Everything indicates that a president can be indicted after he is no longer president.”

Trump has denied any wrongdoing in the campaign or with his former lawyer Michael Cohen, who pleaded guilty to federal campaign finance violations.

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