National Security

Pelosi Says Dems Must ‘Own the Center Left, Own the Mainstream’ to Beat Trump Decisively in 2020

Meanwhile, House panel wants to hold Bill Barr in contempt

Image Credit: Drew Angerer & Alex Wong/Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told The New York Times in an interview published over the weekend that Democrats must defeat President Donald Trump in 2020 by a margin so “big” he won’t challenge the legitimacy of a victory by the Left.

She made clear she’s been worried about that.

“We have to inoculate against that, we have to be prepared for that,” Pelosi said during an interview on Capitol Hill last Wednesday.

She was sharing a concern Trump would not give up the White House voluntarily if, in November 2020, he were to lose re-election by only a slight margin.

Pelosi shared a “coldblooded” plan for Democrats to be rid of Trump next year, as The Times reported.

“Do not get dragged into a protracted impeachment bid that will ultimately get crushed in the Republican-controlled Senate, and do not risk alienating the moderate voters who flocked to the party in 2018 by drifting too far” to the Left, the speaker said.

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“Own the center left, own the mainstream,” Pelosi said.

Trump met with Pelosi and other Democratic leaders last Tuesday to discuss an infrastructure plan for the nation. The $2 trillion package would address crumbling roads, bridges, sewer systems and waterworks across the nation. It would also expand broadband and make improvements to an antiquated power grid.

“America’s unmet infrastructure needs are massive, and a bipartisan infrastructure package must meet those needs with substantial, new and real revenue,” Pelosi along with Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) wrote in a letter about the issue ahead of last week’s meeting.

“We’re going slowly on this,” Larry Kudlow, director of the president’s National Economic Council, said ahead of the meeting. “We would like this to be bipartisan. We would like to work with [the Democrats] and come up with something both sides can agree to. It’s an important topic.”

Schumer told reporters afterward, “We agreed on a number — which was very, very good — $2 trillion for infrastructure. Originally, we started a little lower. Even the president was eager to push it up to $2 trillion.”

The White House, in a written statement afterward, did not mention a specific number but called the session “excellent and productive.

“The United States has not come even close to properly investing in infrastructure for many years, foolishly prioritizing the interests of other countries over our own. We have to invest in this country’s future and bring our infrastructure to a level better than it has ever been before,” the White House said, adding the group would convene again in three weeks “to discuss specific proposals and financing methods.”

This week, Trump and the Democrats are arguing over whether special counsel Robert Mueller will or should appear before the House Judiciary Committee to answer its questions about the preparation and rollout of the report summarizing the nearly two-year investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Mueller’s report found no evidence of collusion by Trump or his campaign associates. It did not issue a judgment on obstruction of justice. Attorney General William Barr, along with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein — who is soon stepping down — decided that the information articulated in the report showed no prosecutable obstruction by the president or his administration.

Related: Should Mueller Appear Before Congress? Trump Says No 

During an appearance on “Fox News Sunday” yesterday, Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) told host Chris Wallace that a May 15 date has been established tentatively for special counsel Robert Mueller to show up in front of the committee — but he later walked back that statement and said that as of yet, there has been no agreement on a date for a potential Mueller appearance.

Mueller, if he were to appear, presumably would respond to questions from congressional lawmakers about the findings of his extensive and costly investigation.

“We think the American people have a right to hear directly from him,” Cicilline of Rhode Island said. “The White House has so far indicated they would not interfere with Mr. Mueller’s attempt to testify. We hope that won’t change,” he added.

That was before President Donald Trump, tweeting on Sunday, wondered why Democrats want Mueller to testify to Congress after already spending seemingly endless amounts of time on the investigation.

“After spending more than $35,000,000 over a two-year period, interviewing 500 people, using 18 Trump-hating angry Democrats & 49 FBI agents — all culminating in a more than 400-page report showing NO COLLUSION — why would the Democrats in Congress now need Robert Mueller to testify?” Trump wrote in a series of tweets.

“Are they looking for a redo because they hated seeing the strong NO COLLUSION conclusion? There was no crime, except on the other side (incredibly not covered in the report), and NO OBSTRUCTION. Bob Mueller should not testify. No redos for the Dems!”

Barr appeared before the committee last Wednesday for a number of hours to answer questions about the report. The committee wanted him to return Thursday to face further questioning, this time from members of its staff, including an attorney — but he refused.

Now House Judiciary chairman Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) is threatening further action against Barr. Lawmakers say they’re prepared to begin contempt proceedings against Barr if he does not agree to hand over the full and unredacted Mueller report.

Related: Even Jimmy Kimmel Goes After House Democrats for Their ‘Chicken’ Stunt Against Bill Barr

Nadler gave Barr until 9 a.m. on Monday to come forward with the full report and underlying evidence from Mueller’s investigation; Nadler subpoenaed the material but Barr missed an initial deadline to produce the report last week.

Barr released a redacted version of the report on April 18 following a summary of it.

Many Republicans object strenuously to actions by the Democrats on these issues.

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) told Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures with Maria Bartiromo” that Democrats are “nervous about Bill Barr” because of “what he said three weeks ago in front of the Senate Finance Committee.”

Barr “made four important points” [during that appearance], Jordan said. “First of all, he said spying did, in fact, take place [against Trump]. Second, he said there is a basis for his concern that the spying wasn’t properly predicated. Third, he said there was a failure of leadership at the upper echelon of the FBI. We know that for sure, Comey, McCabe, Baker, Strzok, Page — we know there was a failure of leadership there. And then, fourth, he used two terms that I have never really heard before, and my guess is most Americans haven’t. He used the term unauthorized surveillance and he used the term political surveillance.”

Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney said on Sunday on the Fox News program “Justice w/ Judge Jeanine,” “I think Mr. Barr did exactly what he was supposed to do [last week]. He went to the Senate, he took as many Democrat questions as they had for him, because the rules were right, and the members were asking the questions from the House. If they don’t trust their own members to ask questions, they shouldn’t be in Congress.”

meet the author

Maureen Mackey served as editor-in-chief and managing editor of LifeZette for nearly five years. Before that, she held senior editorial positions at major publications, helping The Fiscal Times win a MIN Award for Best New Site as managing editor and Reader's Digest win an American Society of Magazine Editors Award for General Excellence as book editor. Her work has appeared in Real Clear Politics, CNBC, A Fine Line, AARP Magazine, Yahoo Finance, MSN, Business Insider, and The Week, among other outlets. She is a member of the Newswomen's Club of New York and the American Legion Auxiliary.

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