Pelosi and the president have been engaged in an ongoing feud that reached a boiling point last week after the speaker publicly accused Trump of engaging in a “coverup.” Trump then stormed out of a planned meeting intended to discuss a $2 trillion infrastructure package after only three minutes, choosing instead to rail against Democrats and their “phony investigations” at an impromptu news conference in the Rose Garden.
Kimmel, however, appeared to be much more interested in keeping the focus of his sit-down with Pelosi on Trump. The host and vocal critic of the president kicked off the 14-minute segment pressing Pelosi on impeachment in the wake of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s recent suggestion that only Congress could “formally accuse a sitting president of wrongdoing.” Despite facing intensifying calls for impeachment from members of her own party, Pelosi has repeatedly made efforts to tamp down the talk and resisted making decisive moves toward that step.
“We need you to get in there and to take care of this,” a passionate Kimmel said at one point during the interview.
Kimmel wasted no time diving into impeachment, bringing up Mueller’s first public comments on the investigation less than two minutes after Pelosi walked onto the show’s set.
Quoting Mueller, who spoke at a news conference on Wednesday, Kimmel asked Pelosi if Congress had any intention of heeding the special counsel’s implication that the responsibility was now on its members to take action.
“We’ve been on that path for a while,” Pelosi said. “When we do get to where we’re going, we’re going to be ready.”
“But it feels like we’ve been on the path for a really, really long while,” Kimmel interjected, “like since the ’70s.”
Pelosi proceeded to emphasize to Kimmel the importance of being “ready.” She also reiterated that impeachment would likely “divide the country” when the goal should be to “try to bring people together.”
But despite her reservations about initiating the process, Pelosi appeared to be unable to keep from taking a few jabs at Trump, telling Kimmel that the president “apparently . . . does not understand his oath of office.”
“Let me just say this immodestly, I probably have a better idea as to what the president has to be held accountable for than anyone,” Pelosi said. She later added, “The only person who knows better than I why this president is not above the law, why this president must be held accountable, the only person who knows better than I do is the president of the United States. He knows. He knows what his violations have been.”
The challenge, Pelosi said, would be convincing the Republicans in Senate, who are “completely in the pocket of Donald Trump.”
She again asserted her belief that this may be the reason Trump wants to be impeached.
“He knows it’s not a good idea to be impeached, but the silver lining for him is then he believes he would be exonerated by the United States Senate, and there’s a school of thought that says if the Senate acquits you, why bring charges against him in the private sector when he’s no longer president?”
She continued: “When we go there with our case, it’s gotta be ironclad.”
As Pelosi repeatedly stressed the necessity of being “as ready as you can possibly be” before taking on impeachment, Kimmel only had one question.
“Will we be ready before the year 2020?” he asked.
“Yeah, we will,” Pelosi responded with a laugh.
Though Kimmel eventually moved on from the Mueller investigation, he still wasn’t finished dissecting Trump.
“Do you feel handicapped by the fact that the president doesn’t pay any regard to what is true?” Kimmel asked Pelosi. “He just says whatever he wants to say, and people who support him believe him."
“I think the American people are on to him,” she said, before declaring that she was done talking about Trump. Instead, she said she’d rather work on tackling the issues on her party’s agenda, which include infrastructure, health care and the role money plays in government.
Kimmel was quick to suggest one way Pelosi could try to encourage Trump’s cooperation.
“The next time you go into a meeting, a negotiation with him, bring McNuggets,” he said, prompting Pelosi to let out a peal of laughter.
“It’s not going to hurt,” Kimmel said with a grin.