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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, brushing off new comments by Robert Mueller and 2020 Democratic hopefuls, feels as strongly as ever that impeaching President Trump would be a "fool’s errand," a top ally told Axios.
Why it matters: Pelosi remains defiant, despite growing calls from fellow Democrats to plunge quickly into impeachment.
- Ironically, Pelosi is leading the charge against impeachment while GOP Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan is leading the charge for it.
By the numbers: Politico says the whip count in favor of impeachment is 41 House members (42 if you include Amash), representing "fewer than 20% of House Democrats, and less than 10% of the House."
Driving the news: More 2020 candidates spoke favorably of impeachment yesterday after a dramatic 11 a.m. appearance by special counsel Robert Mueller at the Justice Department, where he said charging Trump with a crime was "not an option" because of federal rules.
- Mueller's crucial quote: "[I]f we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so."
- Mueller, announcing he was "resigning from the Department of Justice and returning to private life," closed by saying: "[T]here were multiple, systematic efforts to interfere in our election. That allegation deserves the attention of every American." (Transcript)
What to watch: Ignore the noise from 2020 candidates, outside groups and talking heads. What matters most is if any top Democratic House leaders turn against Pelosi. So far, they are all falling in line.
- Speaking at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco after Mueller's statement, Pelosi said the House Democratic chairs will continue to investigate and added: "Nothing is off the table."
Between the lines: People who know Pelosi well tell Axios' Jonathan Swan that she, perhaps uniquely in the Democratic Party, has the power to withstand the growing momentum towards impeachment.
- And they believe there’s no way House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler, whose committee would handle impeachment, would defy her wishes — even if the chorus gets even louder, as long as she put her foot down.
How it's playing ... WashPost 5-column lead story: "Mueller’s remarks fuel impeachment calls."
Go deeper: The new case for impeachment