The Slatest

Nancy Pelosi Now Says Trump Is Becoming “Self-Impeachable,” Which Is Interesting, but No One Knows What She Means

Pelosi, wearing a white suit coat, points to her right.
Nancy Pelosi at the Wednesday Washington Post event during which she made her remark.
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Over the weekend, and then again on Tuesday, Nancy Pelosi made news for all but ruling out the possibility that Democrats will impeach Donald Trump, arguing that doing so would help him politically. This message has taken some criticism: As my colleague Jim Newell writes, Pelosi’s approach not only allows Trump to operate without the fear that he’ll be made accountable for breaking the law but raises the possibility that he’ll win reelection and find himself in the happy position of squaring off with Democratic leaders who will have just spent 18 months arguing that he hasn’t really done anything that bad.

Wednesday, however, Pelosi said at a live interview event that Trump is becoming “self-impeachable”:

“The point is that every single day, whether it’s obstruction, obstruction, obstruction — obstruction of having people come to the table with facts, ignoring subpoenas . . . every single day, the president is making a case — he’s becoming self-impeachable, in terms of some of the things that he is doing,” Pelosi said at a Washington Post Live event.

Is this a softening of Pelosi’s position? A kind of “we don’t want to do this, but he might force us to” backtrack? A play on words suggesting that it’s “self”-evident that the electorate should vote Trump out of office? Hard to say. Even the Post itself wasn’t sure:

It was not immediately clear what she meant by “self-impeachable.” 

According to a Democratic aide who was present, Pelosi elaborated (to some extent) on her comments at a subsequent House Democrats caucus meeting, commenting that Trump is “putting out the case against himself” and “doing our work for us in a certain respect.” So … who knows?