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- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said most Americans do not understand how impeachment works.
- Pelosi has repeatedly tried to tamp down on growing calls for impeaching President Trump.
- Other Democrats like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have acknowledged the unlikelihood of Trump being removed from office after an impeachment.
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WASHINGTON — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi pushed back on calls for impeaching President Donald Trump during a Wednesday press conference, suggesting most Americans do not understand the impeachment process and often conflate it with removal from office.
Pelosi has repeatedly tried to tamp down on growing calls from fellow Democrats to impeach Trump, even as the Democratic Caucus grows increasingly frustrated with the administration’s refusal to cooperate with various investigations.
"What’s important for people to know, first of all, I travel all the time in the country," Pelosi said. "Do you know most people think that impeachment means you’re out of office? Did you ever get that feeling that you’re just in the bubble here. They think that if you get impeached, you’re gone. And that is completely not true."
Pelosi correctly characterized impeachment as an indictment and used for forcing compliance. Removal from office is decided by the Senate, which currently has a strong Republican majority.
"So when you’re impeaching somebody, you want to make sure you have the strongest possible indictment because it’s not the means to the end people think. All you do, vote to impeach, bye bye birdie. It isn’t that," she added. "It’s an indictment so you have the best possible indictment, go through the legal process in a way that shows accommodation that we need to get the courts to rule in our favor because we’ve done it correctly and the rest."
Pelosi reiterated that she is entrusting crucial decisions to Democratic committee chairs as they go about their investigations.
"So it is the business of the committees to do that and when they decide how their accommodations and how their conversations are going, then we respect that," she said.
Other Democrats have mused at the prospect of removing Trump from office, but acknowledged it is extremely unlikely.
"I think what’s tough is impeachment is something that I openly support, but it’s also just the reality of having votes in the Senate to pursue that," Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez told INSIDER in March.
Impeachment of the president or any official is extremely rare and takes a heavy load. It also does not result in removal other than a handful of times throughout US history in which some federal judges were ousted from office.
- Former top Democrat says it’s time to start an impeachment inquiry into Trump
- Congress is using the Watergate playbook to take on Trump and drum up support for his impeachment
- The House Majority Leader just said a lot more Trump administration officials could be held in contempt of Congress next week