WASHINGTON/May 20, 2017 (AP)(STL.News) — President Donald Trump has made himself “very vulnerable personally” amid investigations of his campaign ties with Russia, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Friday.
She pointed to Trump’s reported request to now-fired FBI Director James Comey to lay off an investigation of Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national security adviser.
“I think the Flynn thing is where the president is very vulnerable personally,” Pelosi told The Associated Press in an interview in her office. “If the president in fact asked Comey to let up on … Flynn — you don’t do that.”
Several House Democrats and liberal groups are pushing for Trump to be impeached, but Pelosi said she was not encouraging — or discouraging — such talk.
“I’m not feeding the flame of any impeachment talk,” said Pelosi, who’s spent three decades in Congress. “But members are going to do what they’re going to do, and their constituents think that the behavior of the president is appalling.”
The California Democrat questioned Trump’s fitness for office and said if anyone does it, “the person who’s going to impeach Donald Trump is Donald Trump.”
Pelosi also reacted to news being reported by The New York Times that Trump told Russian diplomats in his office a day after firing Comey that the FBI director was “a nut job” and the pressure he faced because of Russia was now “taken off.”
“I think every day the president gives us more reason to believe that he does not respect the office that he holds. This is a ridiculous statement for him to make,” Pelosi said. “Again it’s elevating the Russians as his confidante at the expense of our justice system in our country.”
Pelosi declined to answer when asked if she believed Trump was of sound mind.
“Oh I hope so, I mean I can’t really go to that place,” Pelosi said. “There are many people whose judgment I respect who don’t think he is, but I’m not going to make any judgment about that. I haven’t had that much exposure to him quite frankly.”
With Democrats contesting GOP-leaning seats in a couple of upcoming special elections, Pelosi expressed optimism ahead of 2018 midterms that could potentially sweep the Democrats back into control of the House, and make her speaker again. “History is on our side,” she said.
She declined to predict that outcome but suggested there were areas where she and Trump could work together in what would be a new era of divided government.
ERICA WERNER, Associated Press
ANDREW TAYLOR, Associated Press