WASHINGTON — Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday ruled out censuring President Donald Trump if the House doesn't impeach him, downplaying a less drastic censure as "a day at the beach" for the president.
Pelosi, D-Calif., told reporters at a breakfast sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor that censure would be "just a way out" of House Democrats' efforts to see if Trump has committed impeachable offenses.
"If you're going to go, you ought to go. In other words, if the goods are there, you must impeach," she said.
Pelosi spoke as she tries restraining House Democrats from jumping quickly into a pre-election effort to impeach Trump. Several dozen of the 235 House Democrats have said they favor launching an impeachment inquiry.
Pelosi has said she wants the numerous committees investigating Trump to gather more evidence, including on whether he obstructed special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
Pelosi said some House Democrats have suggested simply censuring Trump. A censure would rebuke him, but is far less serious than the House voting to impeach, or essentially indict Trump. Unlike impeachment, censure would not automatically trigger a Senate trial on whether to remove Trump from office.
"That's a day at the beach for the president, or at his golf club or wherever he goes," she said of censure.
Pelosi also said a less redacted version of Mueller's report on his investigation would be made available this week to more lawmakers, rather than just restricting its viewing to congressional leaders.
She said while she initially wanted the entire public to be allowed to see any less redacted report, she'd changed her mind.
"I accepted that because I'm afraid. I really don't trust the attorney general of the United States," she said. "And I'm afraid that he may, depending on what is in there, try to deal with ongoing matters in a way that is not constructive for our Constitution. I can't say anything more than that."
The House Judiciary Committee has struck a deal with the Justice Department to receive some underlying materials from Mueller's report. Panel Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., has called these some of Mueller's "most important files" and said all committee members will be able to view them. That includes redacted portions of the report pertaining to obstruction of justice.