UPDATE 1-U.S. House Speaker Pelosi on Trump: “If the goods are there, you must impeach”

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday said that if Democrats’ multiple investigations of President Donald Trump find significant wrongdoing, the chamber would have to move to impeach him.

FILE PHOTO – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) holds her weekly news conference with Capitol Hill reporters in Washington, U.S., June 13, 2019. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

“If the goods are there, you must impeach,” Pelosi told reporters at a breakfast sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor.

Her remarks were in response to a question on whether there is an alternative option of simply voting to censure the president, an idea that Pelosi said is not under consideration.

Pelosi repeated her concerns about the need for public support for any impeachment process, which could result in the removal of Trump from office if approved by the House followed by conviction in the Senate.

No Republican senator has yet come out in favor of such an effort and House Democrats are divided about going ahead with impeachment, which never in U.S. history has resulted in the removal of a president.

Pelosi has walked a fine line of showcasing the legislation the Democratic-controlled House has passed or has in the pipeline – from ethics reforms and new gun safety measures to protecting some immigrants from deportation – versus the wide-ranging investigations of Trump.

She noted the importance of the Department of Justice’s agreement to provide Congress with a less-redacted report by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who investigated Russia’s interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and 10 instances in which Trump tried to interfere with Mueller’s investigation.

Pelosi’s remarks came as former top Trump aide Hope Hicks appeared before the House Judiciary Committee in a closed session to answer questions about potential obstruction of justice by Trump and related matters.

Hicks was mentioned in Mueller’s report multiple times.

In saying Trump “must” be impeached if that is warranted by House investigations, it was not clear whether Pelosi was moving in that direction after months of talking about the divisiveness of impeachment. At one point earlier this year she even said that Trump was “not worth” impeaching.

“If we’re going to go down this path … we have to make sure the public has an understanding of why,” and senators understand their constitutional duty to hold Trump accountable for any wrongdoing, Pelosi said on Wednesday.

Reporting by Richard Cowan; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Jeffrey Benkoe

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