Pelosi is reportedly 'softening to the idea of an impeachment inquiry' after the Mueller hearings

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
(Image credit: Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images)

Former Special Counsel Robert Mueller finally testified in public on Wednesday about his investigation into President Trump's campaign, Russian election meddling, and Trump's attempts to quash the Russia investigation. So what now?

In a closed-door House Democratic caucus meeting following Mueller's testimony, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) rebuffed House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler's (D-N.Y.) call to immediately begin impeachment proceedings against Trump, four sources told Politico. Pelosi reportedly advocated a slow, methodical approach to holding Trump accountable, even as Nadler told inquiring colleagues his committee could initiate impeachment proceedings without a full House vote.

In a press conference Wednesday evening, "Pelosi's opposition to impeachment appeared to soften, although she still won't endorse the idea," Politico reports. Pelosi said if the House moves forward with impeachment, it "would have to be done with our strongest possible hand," preferably after obtaining Trump's financial records and other key information via the courts. "If we have a case for impeachment, that's the place we will have to go," she added. "The stronger our case is, the worse the Senate will look for just letting the president off the hook."

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"If you're looking for smoke signals from Speaker Pelosi, you didn't get very many today," pro-impeachment Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.) told ABC News. "But my sense, just as one member, is that the caucus continues to shift in the direction of impeachment." Rep. Lori Trahan (D-Mass.) became the 93rd House Democrats to back impeachment Wednesday; about a quarter of House Democrats are now pro-impeachment, ABC News estimates.

Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) told MSNBC's Brian Williams on Wednesday night that she thinks Mueller's testimony made impeachment more likely, and she thinks Pelosi "is softening to the idea of an impeachment inquiry to begin. Certainly I got that impression listening to her this afternoon. I don't know that the numbers of members are at a critical mass yet, but I do think it's growing." Peter Weber

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Peter Weber

Peter Weber is a senior editor at TheWeek.com, and has handled the editorial night shift since the website launched in 2008. A graduate of Northwestern University, Peter has worked at Facts on File and The New York Times Magazine. He speaks Spanish and Italian and plays bass and rhythm cello in an Austin rock band. Follow him on Twitter.