Trump, seeking re-election in 2020, said he would not work with Democrats on infrastructure, one of few issues that some had believed had the potential for bipartisan agreement, due to what he called their “phony” investigations.
Pelosi, the top congressional Democrat, did not back down afterward and pointedly mentioned the possibility of impeachment, the process set up by the U.S. Constitution for Congress to remove a president from office.
“The fact is, in plain sight in the public domain, this president is obstructing justice and he’s engaged in a cover-up – and that could be an impeachable offense,” Pelosi said in an event at the Center for American Progress, a liberal Washington policy advocacy group.
After the blow-up of the meeting and Trump’s Rose Garden diatribe, Democrats accused the president of setting them up and expressed concern about his conduct and the long-term outlook for policy-making in Washington.
Trump and Democrats who control the House of Representatives are locked in a high-stakes power struggle over their ability to investigate him, with the president increasingly asserting that his advisers need not respond to lawmakers’ inquiries.
The president is stonewalling multiple congressional investigations by ignoring subpoenas, refusing to allow current and former advisers to testify and not handing over documents.
After the meeting Pelosi said, “For some reason, and maybe it was lack of confidence on his part that he really couldn’t match the greatness of the challenge that we have, he wasn’t really respectful of the Congress and the White House working together. He just took a pass. And it just makes me wonder why he did that.”
“In any event, I pray for the president of the United States and I pray for the United States of America,” Pelosi added.
Amid growing talk by Democrats of impeaching Trump, Pelosi made her statement earlier on Wednesday, about an hour before the White House meeting, that Trump is engaged in a “cover-up.”
“No one is above the law, including the president of the United States,” Pelosi told reporters.
The House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday issued two more subpoenas to former White House staffers, including former communications director Hope Hicks, who was close to Trump.
After the less-then-five-minute White House meeting collapsed, Trump stood at a podium adorned with a professionally made sign that read, “No Collusion, No Obstruction” and that also listed the cost, length and other accusations about the Mueller probe.
Trump said he was upset that Democratic lawmakers were discussing the possibility of impeaching him.