Pelosi exasperated by repeated impeachment questions

Pelosi says she has "10 or 20" favorite Democratic presidential candidates.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, pressed by reporters on Thursday, refused to concede that Congress is in the midst of an impeachment investigation, insisting that its oversight of the administration is one of its basic constitutional responsibilities.

Pelosi's comment came shortly after Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee voted to expand its impeachment investigation, signaling their probe of President Donald Trump was ramping up.

“I stand by what we have been doing all along. I support what is happening Judiciary Committee because that enables them to do their process of interrogation and in their investigation and I salute them for that work,” Pelosi, D-Calif., said at her weekly news conference. “Impeachment is a very divisive measure. But if you have to go there will have to go there. But we can't go there unless we have the facts. And we will find the facts.”

Pelosi said Democrats will make a decision on impeachment “when we are ready.”

“That's the only question. That’s all I have to say about this subject,” Pelosi said, clearly annoyed at the persistent questioning. “And there's nothing different from one day to the next. We're still on our same path.”

But this week, members of the House Democratic Caucus have appeared confused by the current state of play and semantics surrounding the investigation. Reporters continued to press Pelosi, who appeared to grow agitated by reporters’ incessant focus on impeachment.

“I’ve said what I’m going to say on the subject. That’s it,” Pelosi boomed. “We are legislating. We are focusing on the work that we're here to do for the American people. And part of our responsibility is to honor our oath of office to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. And in doing so we are getting, seeking the facts. I'm not answering any questions on this subject. That is what we have said all along.”

Ahead of ABC's Democratic presidential debate Thursday night in Houston, Pelosi said her unsolicited advice for candidates would be to tout the ‘For the People’ message that resonated with voters in 2018 – not to attack the president.

“I myself would say, they're not asking for any advice. They're running for president of the United States. They have that confidence about their why, why they are like, what they know about their subjects, how they intend to achieve them. So what I'm looking for is how this, these leaders will emerge as the list perhaps gets smaller, maybe it won't. But as we proceed is, who among them will connect?” she said. “Because the election is always about the future, and what that future means to America's working family.”

Pelosi said that when Democrats won 40 seats in congressional midterm elections last fall, she discouraged members and candidates “from ever even mentioning the President's name.”

“So I would I know that that part of the debate is who can contend with him,” Pelosi said. “But I think more importantly, it for the American people, it’s who can really connect with them, identify with their hopes and dreams and aspirations, and apprehensions, and that they – all of this vision, knowledge, judgment, strategic thinking up here, but they have to show people what is in their hearts and how they connect with the American people. So that's what I'll be watching.”

Asked whether she has a personal favorite yet, Pelosi laughed.

“Do I have a personal favorite? Ten or 20!” she said. “No, they’re all great, they're all great. But my favorite button that I see across the country is ‘Democrat for President.’ That seems to have blossomed across the country, which I traveled extensively.”

At the end of her newser, a reporter took one more crack at questioning Pelosi about impeachment, asking whether she is uncomfortable with the term “impeachment inquiry.” Pelosi feigned disbelief, backing away from the podium before reiterating her position once again and taking a dig at Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell over gun control.

“We’ll follow the facts. That's what it is,” Pelosi stressed. “Why don't we spend some time going over to see Mitch McConnell and asking him why he doesn't want to save lives? Why he will let every day go by what at least 100 people, large number of them children or teenagers die from gun violence. Why is it that you're hung up on the word over here, when lives are at stake over there?”