Despite her doubts, Pelosi could give the go-ahead for impeachment
Even after the "abuse of power" admitted by the President regarding his talks with Ukraine, Democratic leadership has balked about impeachment.
A whistleblower’s complaint inside the Department of Intelligence has transformed the American political scene when they leaked an alleged and worrying conversation between Donald Trump and the president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky.
After the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff, pressured the interim director of the Department to deliver the complaint, details have come to light.
Trump would have urged Volodymyr to investigate the son of vice president and presidential candidate Joe Biden for alleged corruption in exchange for a $250 million military assistance package previously approved by Congress to help Ukraine in its efforts to counter Russia’s annexation of Crimea.
While everything was speculation for lack of an official document, President Trump confirmed the nature of the conversation in what many have called a gesture of "self-impeachment."
“The conversation I had was largely congratulatory, with largely corruption, all of the corruption taking place and largely the fact that we don’t want our people like Vice President Biden and his son creating to the corruption already in the Ukraine,” the president told reporters before leaving for a trip to Texas and Ohio last Sunday.
For the majority of the Democratic Party, this is the biggest offense in a string of evidence against the president for corruption, abuse of power and obstruction of justice that have emerged since the publication of the Mueller report earlier this year.
However, the Democratic leadership, represented by the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi and minority leader in the Senate, Chuck Schumer, continue to oppose a legal proceeding against Donald Trump.
Since the publication of the Mueller report on the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 elections, Nancy Pelosi has insisted impeachment is not the way, always ensuring the mission of the new Democratic majority in the House is "legislate, investigate and litigate."
And those three actions are precisely what could guarantee a bulletproof impeachment against Trump.
The constitution of the United States does not make clear the frame of presidential immunity. Although it says a president can be “removed” for “minor offenses and misdemeanors,” but does not explain whether he can be subject to a trial in court.
An example of this was the decision of special lawyer Robert Mueller not to indict President Trump for obstructing justice, despite obtaining sufficient evidence.
Mueller argued that the Department of Justice's policies prevented him from doing so.
According to Reuters, the closest precedent to the Trump case was that of the Watergate scandal in 1973 against President Richard Nixon, where the Office of Counsel inside the Department of Justice “adopted in an internal memo the position that a sitting president cannot be indicted.”
Nixon eventually resigned in 1974 and the House of Representatives was able to proceed with impeachment.
But the situation faced by Pelosi and her colleagues today is more complicated.
The Trump administration's obstructionism in delivering the necessary documentation, in combination with its "shielding" of officials - and even those who have never held a position in the White House - from testifying before the designated Committees, blocks access to fundamental evidence for carrying out an accusation per se.
While this could lead to contempt procedures, the investigation and gathering of all necessary material are the most important processes before making any legal decision regarding the president.
Pelosi, meanwhile, has gone one step further.
Last Friday, the speaker said in an interview with Ari Shapiro of NPR: "I do think that we will have to pass some laws that will have clarity for future presidents. [A] President should be indicted, if he's committed wrongdoing — any president. There is nothing any place that says the president should not be indicted."
Pelosi then referred to the urgency of resolving the legal loophole inside the constitution with respect to procedures against a president in office.
However, President Trump's Sunday statements seem to be the missing thrust.
According to Politico, Pelosi dedicated the weekend to "measure the temperature" of her party with respect to impeaching the president, and organized a meeting with the six chairmen of the committees currently investigating Trump on Tuesday afternoon to "discuss the next steps.”