Nancy Pelosi says most Americans don't understand what impeachment means: 'They think that if you get impeached, you're gone.'

Alex Wong/Getty ImagesHouse Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday argued that most Americans did not understand how impeachment works.
  • Pelosi has repeatedly tried to tamp down on growing calls for impeaching President Donald Trump.
  • Other Democrats, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, have acknowledged the unlikelihood that Trump would be removed from office after an impeachment.
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WASHINGTON – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is still pushing back on calls for impeaching President Donald Trump, suggesting during a Wednesday press conference that 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.

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“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 characterised impeachment as an indictment and as something used for forcing compliance. Removal from office is decided by the Senate, which now 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,” she added. “All you do, vote to impeach, bye-bye, birdie. It isn’t that. 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 favour because we’ve done it correctly and the rest.”

Pelosi reiterated that she was entrusting crucial decisions to Democratic committee chairs conducting 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.

Read more:

Nancy Pelosi pours cold water on the idea of impeaching Trump: ‘I don’t think we should go down that path’

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. It has resulted in removal only a handful of times throughout US history, such as when some federal judges were ousted from office.

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