With Sessions Firing, Trump Quickly Tests Democratic Resolve

“If that happens,” Mr. Trump said, “then we’re going to do the same thing, and government comes to a halt.”

At a celebratory news conference, Ms. Pelosi ticked through the issues she said Democrats intended to pursue: “lower health care costs, lower prescription drugs, bigger paychecks, building infrastructure, clean up corruption to make America work for American people’s interest, not for special interest.”

She appeared confident and determined to make a legislative impact, not just pursue Mr. Trump.

But she said that the Democratic Party was not about to back off its oversight duties — no matter what the president said.

“I don’t think we’ll have any scattershot freelancing in terms of this,” she said. “We will have a responsibility to honor our oversight responsibilities, and that’s the path that we will go down.”

But that, too, presents a challenge for Ms. Pelosi, who is increasingly confident she will become the first person since Sam Rayburn in the 1950s to lose and then regain the position of House speaker. In the campaign, Democrats were careful not to make the possible impeachment of Mr. Trump a central element of their message strategy, and they will have to tread carefully.

“The path to a majority was in moderate and right-of-center districts, so de facto, the Democratic caucus will grow to the center,” said Steve Israel, a former Democratic House member from New York who previously managed the party’s campaign effort. “If the Democratic agenda is about two things, impeaching Trump and abolishing ICE, it is going to be 2008 all over again — two years later, and you lose your majority.”

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