tv U.S. House of Representatives House Speaker Pelosi News Conference CSPAN May 23, 2019 7:31pm-7:48pm EDT
>> what does it mean to be american? middle and high school students answer the question for this year's studentcam competition. the winning videos, saturday at 10:00 a.m. eastern, on c-span. house speaker nancy pelosi was asked during her weekly briefing today about her interaction yesterday with president trump. the speaker repeated her claim that the president is engaged in a cover-up. democrats went to the white house prepared to --er the president the up the opportunity to watching the storage infrastructure initiative. we had met three weeks before. the idea that it was a good, positive meeting about how we build the infrastructure of our country. broadband in rural areas and underserved urban areas as well. water systems, both wastewater
and safe, clean drinking water, infrastructure for our satellites, so our technology works here. for all of these things we were optimistic. we also were hoping for housing and school construction as further part of the conversation. the question is, how is it paid for? and the president was going to -- the plan was as we agreed at the meeting three weeks ago the president was to present his , proposals at yesterday's meeting. everyone -- it started making -- sending signals he is may not be -- he might not be ready or interested. the night before, he sent a letter to chuck schumer and me saying he doesn't want to do that until we do the u.s.-mexico-canada. that's not the accurate -- some call it after nafta, some call it nafta 2.0, but anyway that trade agreement. that's a strange juxtaposition
, but nonetheless the next day, you know what happened. i think what is happened, he said it's because of coverup. i know that strikes a chord with him and he's afraid of coverup. afraid of being accused of coverup. but i think that what he -- he knew the one court decision was getting into territory he did not want touched and they did not allow the mueller report -- the mueller investigation to go into the president's personal finances. so a major setback for him. then he must have known the deutsche bank decision would be consistent, but in any event, to inoculate against the presentation, he pulled a stunt. i truly believe that the president has a bag of tricks and the white house has a bag of tricks they save for certain occasions. they don't necessarily apply to the occasion, but they're a distraction which is his master -- he's a master of distraction, we'll all agree on that, that's
something he does well, distract from problems he has. he changes, tries to change the subject. while he tries to say it's because i said coverup, we've been saying coverup for a while. our 9:00 meeting was a meeting we have anyway. it had nothing to do with him. but i think what really got to him was the court cases and the fact that a house democratic caucus does not pass to engagement and that's where he wants us to be. when he saw that's not happen, with the coverup, which he understands is true, that struck a chord. it was sad because as i said to some of you yesterday, thomas jefferson, one of our -- our third president, had the first infrastructure initiative, he taxed the secretary of the treasury, i said that to the secretary of the treasury yesterday after the president
left the room, he taxed the secretary of the treasury to put together a big infrastructure plan to follow the lewis and clark expedition and the louisiana purchase to build into the infrastructure of america , cumberland road, erie canal, things like that. 100 years later, tedky roosevelt initiated his infrastructure plan which was green. the establishment of the national park service. later in the century, president eisenhower put forth the interstate highway proposal that was very bipartisan. the leader in the senate, lyndon johnson, in the house sam rayburn, and our republican president eisenhower working together to pass that for the good of the country. and its purpose under president
eisenhower was that it would unify america. it was a defense issue. what we're talking about now, infrastructure, the president said i word, i thought he was talking about infrastructure, roads, bridges, mass transit. i said some of these things already. i thought we could give him the opportunity to make a historic contribution to the safety, because it's a safety measure, it's about commerce, it's about safety, it's about mobility, product to market and the rest of that. clean air, clean water. it's about a better future for our country. much needed. trillions of dollars in deficit. in terms of low or no maintenance. it's never been partisan. we don't want it to be partisan now. i can only think that he wasn't up to the task of figuring out the difficult choices of how to cover the costs of the important
infrastructure legislation that we had talked about three weeks before. so the president again stormed out. i think first, pound the table, walk out the door. next time, have the tv cameras in there while i have my say. that didn't work for him either. now this time, another temper tantrum, again, i pray for the president of the united states. i wish that his family, administration, or staff would have an intervention for the good of the country. reporter: would you be prepared to change your rhetoric given the political landscape, his temperament? you suggest you're concerned about his well being. ms. pelosi: i am, and about the well being of the united states of america.
>> would you care to do something different if you were to get something else.? using phrases like cover-up to not provoke them. ms. pelosi: you have bought into his excuse. that was not the reason he did that yesterday. that was an excuse for him to do that. with all due respect to your question, i am -- i do not intend not to honor my oath of office nor do my colleagues in the house of representatives, to honor our oath of office to protect and defend the constitution, which has a system of checks and balances, separation of power in it and again, it's a question of the american people understanding that what he is doing is an assault on the constitution of the united states. we can walk and chew gum at the same time. i hope he can too. reporter: yesterday you said he's committed impeachable offenses but you say we're not
on a path to impeachment, why are you opposed to impeachment, which many of your members want to do. ms. pelosi: let me be clear. the president's behavior in terms of obstruction of justice, it is very clear. it is in plain sight. it cannot be denied, obstruction of justice. yes, these could be impeachable offenses. i intend not to -- three things. you might understand it better if you remember these three things. we want to follow the facts to get the truth to the american people. with the recognition that no one is above the law, and three, that the president is engaged in a coverup. and that is what my statement is. how we deal with it is a conclusion our caucus makes. our caucus is very much saying, whatever we do, we need to be ready when we do it. i do think that impeachment is a
very divisive place to go in our country. and what we can get the facts to the american people through our investigation, it may take us to a place that is unavoidable in terms of impeachment or not but we're not at that place. reporter: another meeting with the president after what happened? will you work with him on anything? ms. pelosi: of course. we're dealing with a situation that's becoming more predictable , but i do think that we have a responsibility to try to find common ground. it's funny you asked that question. yesterday, i was going to start the meeting in terms of putting it in perspective as i have done here, but also to say we're very busy people. the leaders in the congress. especially the president of the united states. i think. and a meeting between leaders of the congress and the president is a historic meeting. this is not a casual coming together of democrats and republicans. this is a historic meeting.
it's a leadership of the legislative branch, the first branch of government, and the president of the united states. so let's make it count for something. let's really make it count for something. by dint of preparation. by dint of respect for each other's views, understanding that we'll have to yield on points to get results for the american people. but he obviously was not prepared by dint of preparation, he was not prepared, so some excuse to go out the door. i will not take responsibility for his irresponsible behavior because we pointed out the truth. reporter: kellyanne conway remarked she's apparently abandoned -- ms. pelosi: i'm not going to talk about her. i responded as the speaker of the house to the president of the united states. other conversations people were having among themselves.
reporter: you guys have a lot of major legislative issues you need to address. the president and secretary talking about -- you're going to lose democratic focus. how do you go back and reengineer this, might not be infrastructure, but you have to keep the government open, got to raise the debt ceiling, you have to have democratic votes. ms. pelosi: go ask that question of the president of the united states. we have always been responsible. left to our devices, our appropriators, i'm an appropriator, i was forged in that culture. in those days, they were not partisan arenas. disaster assistance, we could have gotten there left to our devices, the appropriators, until the white house intervened. we will have to pass the appropriations bill and we will. and hopefully we will do them in a very timely fashion. the debt ceiling will have to be lifted.
and that's a matter of conversation that we're having on the debt ceiling. we're not saying that the president said if you don't stop investigating me, if you don't stop honoring your oath of office, i can't work with you. that's basically what he's saying. maybe he wants to take a leave of absence, i don't know. but on the other hand, we understand what our responsibilities are. we are prepared to go forward. it will really be up to them -- reporter: aren't you in a better position to ask for more because of the blowup yesterday? speaker pelosi: we have to be doing what is right for the american people and all the equities. reporter: you said that the president wants on some level -- ms. pelosi: of course, i told you.
reporter: could you explain that. you made a comment that he might want to do an intervention. you saidsi: i thought yto intervention. that would be good, article 25. troublemaker. that's a good idea, i'm glad you suggested. my colleagues haven't been thinking about it. but your support will be important to them. [laughter] ms. pelosi: there is no question. the white house is just crying out for impeachment. that's why he left yesterday because he was hoping, somehow you all have a story that isn't real. you want to believe there is this unease in our caucus. that isn't true. we have respect for the diversity of our caucus. i say our diversity is our strength.
our unity is our prior. -- power. and we have unity in our caucus. he is saying you called that meeting at 9:00. no. we have meetings, mr. president. it's not about you. but it is about whatever is current at that time and so, you keep perpetrating this story. i don't know why, because it isn't factual. but nonetheless, this is what disappointed him because he didn't see this rush to impeachment coming out of our caucus in our 9:00 meeting, which he thought was called specifically for him. and that's up to his family and his cabinet and his staff and the white house. this is not behavior that rises to the dignity of the office of president of the united states. having said that, i pray for the
president because we need -- i don't know, sometimes when we are talking to him, he agrees and i said one time, who's in charge because you agree and then all of a sudden, something changes. what goes on there? who's in charge? he says he's in charge, and i suspect he may be and i suspect he may be, because i don't think any responsible assistant to the president of the united states advised him to do what he did do yesterday. thank you all. [inaudible]
[inaudible] >> house republican leader kevin mccarthy spoke at his weekly briefing. here is what he had to say about speaker pelosi's relationship with president trump and other issues facing the house area -- house. >> i'm a concern about what transpired on the floor this week. is same thing that happened the same thing that happened last week. there are moments in time that i believe all america becomes proud of this house, those moments and those committees where we find every republican and democrat to find common grouped. we watched that in energy and commerce that we looked to ways to lower drug prices. we found three bills that would give america more options, lower the actual cost of prescription