Mar 25, 2019 - Politics & Policy

Pelosi's pinch: Obstruction is the new Russia

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

Speaker Nancy Pelosi looks clairvoyant for urging Democrats to drop the impeachment talk — and start obsessing about a 2020 election verdict.

The state of play: Now, the speaker must stare down members, donors and activists hell-bent on administering some Trump punishment, even after Mueller took a pass. "Our primary focus is on getting the underlying documents," a Pelosi aide said. "We think there's a lot there that helps inform these other investigations."

Mueller's hung jury on obstruction — assuming Attorney General William Barr distilled it accurately — could encourage some Democrats to dig in.

  • But the flip is that if Mueller couldn't conclusively prove it, a partisan investigation is even less likely to.
  • So obstruction could become the new Russia — the left's white whale.

Steve Elmendorf, a former top House Dem aide, told me Pelosi will be able to hold off impeachment fever, in part because the Twitter/cable world is "totally out of step with what people out in the country are really talking about."

  • Elmendorf said Pelosi "knows why she won in '18, and how to win again in '20" — by emphasizing kitchen-table issues like health care, not impeachment.

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