Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on Thursday tamped down the possibility that House Democrats could pursue impeachment of Attorney General William Barr over accusations that he has politicized the Department of Justice.
Some Democrats have expressed interest in pursuing impeachment proceedings against Barr after the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing Wednesday during which Justice Department officials alleged that the agency had taken in political considerations when handling cases against allies of President Trump's.
But Pelosi suggested that any referendum on Barr should be done at the ballot box in November.
"A hundred and thirty-one days from now, we will have the solution to many problems, one of them being Barr," Pelosi said during a Washington Post Live event.
"Anyone who saw that testimony will know that Barr is a mess. He's a disgrace to the Department of Justice," Pelosi said.
The House voted last year to hold Barr, as well as Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, in contempt for defying subpoenas related to documents on efforts to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.
Barr has drawn further ire from House Democrats since then, most recently over the Justice Department's moves to dismiss the criminal case against Trump's former national security adviser Michael Flynn and recommend a lighter sentence for his former political adviser Roger Stone. They also strongly object to the firing of the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, who had been investigating people with ties to Trump.
But Pelosi indicated that she thinks the best path forward is for voters to kick Trump out of office in 4 1/2 months.
"So he is contemptible, there's no question about that. But at this point, let's solve our problems by going to the polls and voting on Election Day, 131 days from now," Pelosi said.
Her comments came a day after House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) expressed openness to impeaching Barr, after initially dismissing the idea days earlier.
"We're looking into that, we may very well," Nadler said on Wednesday. "I think the weight of the evidence and of what's happened leads to that conclusion."
Nadler had previously said during an interview on CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday that he thought pursuing impeachment proceedings against Barr would be a "waste of time" given that Republicans still control the Senate.
Two other Democrats, Reps. Steve Cohen (Tenn.) and Bill Pascrell (N.J.), have called for Barr's impeachment.
A Justice Department spokeswoman said Wednesday that Barr has agreed to testify before the House Judiciary Committee in late July, where he is likely to be repeatedly pressed on the allegations that the agency has been politicized during his tenure.