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Nancy Pelosi Won’t Rule Out Investigating President Trump

She was joined by a dozen newly elected lawmakers on Friday at her press conference about the new session of Congress

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) wouldn’t take the notion of investigating President Donald Trump off the table on Friday during a press conference.

“The American people want us to address their bread-and-butter, kitchen-table issues,” Pelosi said. “That is what we promised in the election for the people, lower health care costs, bigger paychecks, integrity in government, and that’s what we’re here to do. The committees with jurisdiction will determine how they proceed.”

“But make no mistake, oversight is a congressional responsibility.”

Pelosi was responding to a question from a reporter on what investigations her members think should be the focus and whether there is concern such efforts would distract from legislating.

She was joined on stage by a dozen newly elected lawmakers who will become members when the new session starts January 3.

Pelosi is also on course to become speaker after already clenching her party’s nomination this week.

Related: Pelosi Wins Dem Nomination in Major Step Toward Becoming Speaker

“Oversight is our responsibility,” Pelosi said. “Article I, the first branch of government, a check on the other two. It followed a beautiful preamble to the Constitution. So we will honor our responsibilities.”

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) and a number of others within the Democrat Party have argued the president needs to be investigated. They have suggested his international business empire has created possible conflicts of interest; and they’ve mentioned his tax records and ethics complaints against political appointees as other red flags.

But at the forefront of the push to investigate the president has been allegations of wrongdoing during the presidential election of 2016. Special counsel Robert Mueller has been leading an investigation since May 2017, which is looking at whether or not the president or his associates colluded with Russian interests during the campaign.

“There has been a lot of discussion over legislating versus investigating, and I think sometimes that’s a false choice,” Tom Malinowski, a representative-elect from New Jersey, said during the press conference.

“My constituents want us to legislate. They want us to come here and get things done.”

Related: If Pelosi Won’t Back Gridlock Reform, Nine Dems Threaten to Withhold Votes from Her

Malinowski pointed to one of their proposals, which promises to restore election integrity. Democrats unveiled an expansive anti-corruption bill on Friday intended to fight the influence of money in politics and expanding voting rights.

Pelosi and the other members mostly focused on the package during the press conference.

“The package that you all just heard described is in many ways a response to the lessons of what we already know happened in the 2016 election,” Malinowski said.

“Because what we learned was that our lax rules against corruption, our lax campaign finance rules in our country, in addition to allowing things that were wrong, were a national security vulnerability.”

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed Mueller to lead the special counsel investigation last year after former Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from everything related to the allegations.

Trump recently appointed of Matthew Whitaker to be acting attorney general — a move some have questioned as suspicious given his past public criticisms of the special counsel investigation.

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Connor D. Wolf covers Congress and national politics and can be reached at [email protected].