House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Thursday that she agrees with House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) that the country is in a “constitutional crisis” due to President Trump’s stonewalling of congressional investigations.
“Yes. I do agree with Chairman Nadler, because the administration has decided that they are not going to honor their oath of office,” Pelosi told reporters at her weekly news conference.
Democrats and the White House are locked in a battle over executive authority in the wake of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
On Wednesday, Nadler’s committee voted along party lines to hold Attorney General William P. Barr in contempt of Congress for ignoring a congressional subpoena. The vote came hours after Trump asserted executive privilege over Mueller’s report, rebuffing Democratic efforts to review the underlying evidence the special counsel gathered and hold congressional hearings with key witnesses.
“There can be no higher stakes than this attempt to arrogate all power to the executive branch, away from Congress and, more important, away from the American people,” Nadler said Wednesday. “We’ve talked for a long time about approaching a constitutional crisis. We are now in it. We are now in a constitutional crisis.”
Pelosi signaled Thursday that lawmakers may vote to hold more Trump administration officials in contempt.
“In terms of timing, when we’re ready we’ll come to the floor,” she said when asked about the timing of a vote by the full House on whether to hold Barr in contempt. “And we’ll just see because there may be some other contempt of Congress issues that we might want to deal with at the same time. And he wants to do it as soon as possible, and so do we.”
Addressing reporters shortly after Pelosi on Thursday, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) rejected the need for any contempt citations or legal standoffs to get more documents, saying it was time to “move this country forward.”
“I think we should spend our time on solving problems,” McCarthy said at his weekly briefing, two hours after Pelosi spoke.
He disputed Pelosi and Nadler’s assertion that there is a “constitutional crisis” over the standoff.
“The only crisis we have is the majority in this Congress,” he said.
Paul Kane contributed to this report.