As impeachment talk escalates, Pelosi says Trump is engaged in a 'cover-up'

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By Rebecca Shabad  with NBC News Politics
Image: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at a news conference in Washington on May
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at a news conference in Washington on May 16, 2019.   -   Copyright  Zach Gibson Getty Images file

WASHINGTON — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Wednesday that President Donald Trump is engaged in a cover-up as he and his administration have blocked Congress from obtaining testimony and documents for their investigations.

"We do believe that it's important to follow the facts. We believe that no one is above the law, including the president of the United States. And we believe that the president of the United States is engaged in a cover-up," Pelosi said after a closed-door caucus meeting with House Democrats to discuss their efforts to conduct oversight and investigations of the Trump administration.

Her comments come as calls by Democrats to open an impeachment inquiry grow louder.

Nearly a dozen out of the 24 Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee — which has the power to conduct impeachment proceedings — have voiced support for opening an inquiry. Most of them have only come out in favor of initiating one since Monday, coming in the wake of Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., backing impeachment proceedings over the weekend.

Many Democrats have grown increasingly frustrated with the president and his administration with their efforts to defy multiple congressional subpoenas for testimony and requested documents, and those who are not yet on the impeachment train said the administration's obstruction could soon push them over the edge.

"President Trump and his Administration have obstructed justice over and over again, leaving us no choice: we must open an impeachment inquiry into the President of the United States," Rep. Madeleine Dean, D-Pa., tweeted as part of a threaded statement Tuesday evening. "It is the right time for the committee to launch a formal impeachment inquiry - in parallel with ongoing oversight - to give the American people the truth."

Democrats who don't sit on the Judiciary Committee also came out in support of opening an inquiry Tuesday, including Rep. Kathleen Rice, D-N.Y., a frequent Pelosi critic.

"For over two years the President has systematically dismantled our democracy and defied the rule of law. This cannot stand. Congress has a moral obligation to put our politics aside and take action. We need to start impeachment proceedings. The President is not above the law," she tweeted Tuesday evening.

Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., told reporters Tuesday that she expects the Wednesday meeting will focus on growing calls for impeachment, which she said she's unsure about herself and would like to hear cases made for and against by her fellow members.

"I believe that he has definitely committed impeachable offenses — the question is how do we follow up on all of the misdeeds that we've seen?"

The top echelons of Democratic leadership, meanwhile, have continued to argue against impeachment. House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., for example, told MSNBC's "Meet the Press Daily" on Tuesday that a majority of Democrats would oppose impeachment at the moment.

Earlier in the day, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said "I don't think we're there at this point in time."