Incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she wouldn’t rule out President Trump being indicted while in office, describing the topic as “an open discussion.”
During an exclusive interview with TODAY’s Savannah Guthrie, the House Democratic leader said it’s possible that special counsel Robert Mueller could seek an indictment against the sitting president, despite Justice Department guidelines against such action.
"I do not think that that is conclusive," Pelosi said about the guidance.
“I think that that is an open discussion. I think that is an open discussion in terms of the law,” she said, on the eve of reclaiming her former title as speaker of the House. Pelosi will become the first lawmaker in recent history to hold that office twice when the 116th Congress convenes Thursday.
Mueller has been investigating Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and whether its government worked to help Trump win the White House.
Although Democrats have discussed the idea of impeaching the president, Pelosi said it would not benefit the country to pursue one. But she wouldn’t rule the idea out either.
“We have to wait and see what happens with the Mueller report. We shouldn't be impeaching for a political reason, and we shouldn't avoid impeachment for a political reason. So we'll just have to see how it comes,” she said.
On other pending issues, Pelosi stood her ground on the issue of Trump's demand for funding his border wall with Mexico.
"No, no. Nothing for the wall. We're talking about border security," she said. "There is no amount of persuasion he can do to say to us, 'We want you to do something that is not effective, that costs billions of dollars.' That sends the wrong message about who we are as a country."
Congress' refusal to give in to Trump's demand for funding for the southern border wall has resulted in a stalemate that prompted a partial federal government shutdown that started just before Christmas.
“This is the Trump shutdown, through and through. That’s why he has proudly taken, in his view, proudly taken ownership of it. There’s no escaping that for him,” Pelosi said. “That doesn’t mean we take any joy in the fact that there is a Trump shutdown. We want government to open.”
Following a remarkable televised standoff with Trump in the Oval Office over the budget just before the holidays, Pelosi met with House Democrats and reportedly dismissed Trump’s wall as “a manhood thing” for the president.
In her interview with TODAY, Pelosi wouldn’t elaborate on what she meant, other than to say: “I wish that my members had not repeated that outside the room.”
Asked whether she thought Trump deals with her differently because she’s a woman, she said she didn't know.
“I have no idea. We'll see how he will deal with the speaker of the House. And that doesn't matter whether you're a woman or not,” she said. “But I hope he recognizes that a new day has dawned in America.”