Jan 3, 2019

Pelosi breaks with Justice: Trump can be indicted

Incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via Getty Images

In an interview to air on NBC's "Today," co-anchor Savannah Guthrie asks Nancy Pelosi, who will become House speaker at around 1:30 pm Thursday: "Do you believe the special counsel should honor and observe the Department of Justice guidance that states a sitting president cannot be indicted?"

The big picture: Pelosi replied, according to an excerpt from NBC: "I do not think that that is conclusive. No, I do not." With that response, she becomes the highest ranking official to suggest President Trump could be indicted while in office.

Pelosi is ready to rumble, planning to maintain the unyielding posture she took with Trump in their Oval Office standoff before the shutdown.

  • She tells USA Today that Trump is now entering a "different world."

House Democrats plan to be aggressive on both an investigations/oversight track and a legislative track, writes Chris Krueger of Cowen Washington Research Group:

  • "The Democratic majority is largely due to Democrats in Trump-won districts from 2016, so expect a lot of legislation with high approval ratings first in the queue: infrastructure, drug pricing, immigration reform (protections for DREAMers), shoring up the ObamaCare exchanges/protecting pre-existing conditions, gun control, voting rights."

Excerpts from remarks Pelosi will make when she takes the gavel during the opening session of the 116th Congress (opens at noon, with the speaker vote — which will take about an hour — starting around 12:15 pm):

  • "When our new members take the oath, our Congress will be refreshed, and our democracy will be strengthened by the optimism, idealism and patriotism of this transformative freshman class."
  • "We must be pioneers of the future. This Congress must accelerate a future that advances America’s preeminence in the world, and opens up opportunities for all."

"[We] will call upon the bold thinking needed to address the disparity of income in America, which is at the root of the crisis of confidence felt by so many Americans."

  • "We must also face the existential threat of our time: the climate crisis."
  • "I pledge that this Congress will be transparent, bipartisan and unifying."
  • "[T]he floor of this House must be America’s Town Hall: where the people will see our debates, and where their voices will be heard and affect our decisions."

Go deeper: Trump v. Pelosi showdown will define 2019 and 2020

Go deeper

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 5,410,228 — Total deaths: 345,105 — Total recoveries — 2,169,005Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 1,643,499 — Total deaths: 97,722 — Total recoveries: 366,736 — Total tested: 14,163,915Map.
  3. World: White House announces travel restrictions on Brazil, coronavirus hotspot in Southern Hemisphere Over 100 coronavirus cases in Germany tied to single day of church services — Boris Johnson backs top aide amid reports that he broke U.K. lockdown while exhibiting symptoms.
  4. Public health: Officials are urging Americans to wear masks headed into Memorial Day weekend Report finds "little evidence" coronavirus under control in most statesHurricanes, wildfires, the flu could strain COVID-19 response
  5. Economy: White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett says it's possible the unemployment rate could still be in double digits by November's election — Public employees brace for layoffs.
  6. Federal government: Trump attacks a Columbia University study that suggests earlier lockdown could have saved 36,000 American lives.
  7. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredTraveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

U.S. coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios. This graphic includes "probable deaths" that New York City began reporting on April 14.

The CDC is warning of potentially "aggressive rodent behavior" amid a rise in reports of rat activity in several areas, as the animals search further for food while Americans stay home more during the coronavirus pandemic.

By the numbers: More than 97,700 people have died from COVID-19 and over 1.6 million have tested positive in the U.S. Over 366,700 Americans have recovered and more than 14.1 million tests have been conducted.

World coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

Japan's economy minister outlined plans on Monday to end the nationwide state of emergency as the number of new novel coronavirus cases continues to decline to fewer than 50 a day, per Bloomberg. Japan has reported 16,550 cases and 820 deaths.

By the numbers: Over 5.4 million people have tested positive for the virus as of Monday, and more than 2.1 million have recovered. The U.S. has reported the most cases in the world (over 1.6 million from 13.7 million tests). The U.K. is reporting over 36,800 deaths from the coronavirus — the most fatalities outside the U.S.