House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) said Tuesday that it would not benefit the Democratic Party to pursue the impeachment of President Donald Trump.
Pelosi was asked during a "Politico Playbook" interview about calls from within her own party to impeach Trump and about some Democratic congressional candidates who have made impeachment a focus of their campaigns.
"Impeachment to me is a divisive issue unless there's something so conclusive as we saw … in Watergate," Pelosi said, citing former President Richard Nixon as a legitimate case for impeachment.
Pelosi acknowledged this is not the first time her view on impeachment has not been universally accepted among Democrats, noting she is still criticized by other Democrats for not pushing forward on impeaching then-President George W. Bush after the Democrats, led by Pelosi, took control of Congress after the 2006 election.
"So I've just said to folks, ‘I wish you wouldn't [push for impeachment]. You can talk about it in your district. In my district, it's a very popular issue, but it's not the path we should go on,’" Pelosi said.
The minority leader said talk about impeachment is a "distraction" that takes away attention from important issues that directly affect families. She went on to call for unification rather than "divisive" impeachment.
Some Democrats, such as Rep. Maxine Waters (D., Calif.) and mega-donor Tom Steyer, have vocally pushed for impeachment. Waters has been one of Trump's most outspoken critics and has called for his impeachment dozens of times, including during a eulogy of a civil rights activist last September.
Pelosi, meanwhile, has routinely cautioned Democrats against pushing for the impeachment of Trump without evidence of wrongdoing that would warrant impeachment. She said attempting impeachment would be a political "gift" to Republicans in the 2018 elections, an idea reflected by an April NPR/PBS News Hour/Marist poll, which found 47 percent of registered voters would definitely vote against candidates who would favor impeaching the president, compared to 42 percent who would definitely vote for such a candidate.
The minority leader on Tuesday added, however, that if special counsel Robert Mueller were to find evidence of illegal activities by Trump, then she would be open to discussing impeachment.