As Paste’s Jake Weindling noted earlier Thursday, Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been the biggest impediment to impeachment hearings in a House of Representatives controlled by Democrats. She and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer have gummed up the works at every turn, despite a definite appetite for at least initiating the process among the significant progressive wing of the caucus.
Now, a day after Robert Mueller’s testimony, she may be changing her mind—slowly. According to Politico, Pelosi once again rebuffed Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler when he called for a start to impeachment proceedings in the aftermath of Mueller’s testimony, but she wasn’t as firm in her opposition:
Pelosi convened the Democratic caucus following Mueller’s appearance before the Judiciary and Intelligence panels. A lengthy, animated discussion about the impeachment process followed…
During a press conference afterward, Pelosi’s opposition to impeachment appeared to soften, although she still won’t endorse the idea.
“If we have a case for impeachment, that’s the place we will have to go. Why I’d like it to be a strong case is because it’s based on the facts — the facts and the law, that’s what matters,” Pelosi told reporters while showing no signs of her disagreement with Nadler, who stood next to her.
The next move, apparently, is to enforce a subpoena against former White House Counsel Don McGahn, who Trump once told to fire Mueller. But while appearing with Pelosi, Nadler was clearly still bullish on impeachment:
“Today was a watershed day in telling the facts to the American people. With those facts, we can proceed. And we face a time of great danger,” Nadler added. “This cannot go on. And it’s up to Congress to safeguard the Constitution and we will do it.”
Pelosi struck a more cautious tone, but clearly said that Republican obstruction “will not prevent us from going forward.”
Mueller’s performance on Wednesday was widely considered underwhelming, but the evidence of obstruction is still strong enough to support an impeachment action. If Pelosi wanted ironclad proof from Mueller, she didn’t get it, but the pressure from her fellow House Democrats—particularly Nadler—may finally be wearing her down.