Nancy Pelosi on Impeachment
Dear Commons Community,
Last month, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was adamant that she did not think it politically wise to impeach President Trump. She said that she would not pursue impeachment against President Trump because it would be too divisive and “he’s just not worth it.”
“I’m not for impeachment,” said Pelosi in an interview with the Washington Post : “Impeachment is so divisive to the country that unless there’s something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan, I don’t think we should go down that path…”
In light of the release of the Mueller Report last week, there is new pressure on her and the Democrats to move to impeachment. Confronting a Democratic divide over the findings of the special counsel, she urged her caucus yesterday to hold off impeaching President Trump for now, even as she denounced the “highly unethical and unscrupulous behavior” that she said had dishonored his office.
Her comments, outlined in a letter to House Democrats and a subsequent conference call with them, seemed designed to increase support for the investigations already begun, rather than impeachment. But the conference call exposed the persistent divisions that Ms. Pelosi is trying to bridge, as several Democrats questioned the cost of not beginning the impeachment of Donald J. Trump. As reported in the New York Times:
“Some House Democrats are convinced that impeachment proceedings would be doomed to fall short of removal from office and therefore would only help the president politically. Others argue that failing to impeach would effectively signal to this president and his successors that serious misdeeds will be tolerated by a legislative branch fearful of political consequence.
Ms. Pelosi tried to convince her colleagues that they have tools to hold Mr. Trump to account without impeaching him. Underscoring Ms. Pelosi’s approach, the Democrat-led Judiciary Committee announced as the call began that it had subpoenaed Donald F. McGahn II, the former White House counsel and one of the central figures of Mr. Mueller’s report, to appear at a public hearing in late May. The hearing, the committee’s chairman told colleagues, would be the first in a series of public sessions showcasing possible obstruction of justice, abuses of power and corruption in the Trump administration.
Representatives Suzanne Bonamici of Oregon and Steve Cohen of Tennessee raised another possibility: voting to censure the president, the people on the call said.
“We have to save our democracy. This isn’t about Democrats or Republicans. It’s about saving our democracy,” Ms. Pelosi told the 172 members who participated in the 87-minute conference call, keeping the possibility of impeachment alive. “If it is what we need to do to honor our responsibility to the Constitution — if that’s the place the facts take us, that’s the place we have to go.”
Some young voices in the new Congress appear ready to push them there — and they are not going away.
“We must begin impeachment proceedings and investigate if the president committed impeachable offenses,” Representative Ilhan Omar, Democrat of Minnesota, wrote on Twitter just before the call.
For now, House Democratic leaders appeared to have enough leeway to pursue investigations without formally convening impeachment proceedings. Representative Maxine Waters of California, the chairwoman of the Financial Services Committee and one of the most vocal proponents of impeachment, said her support for trying to remove Mr. Trump from office was no secret, but added that she would not push other members or outside liberal groups to join her, according to the people on the call, who spoke anonymously to share details from a confidential discussion.
And Representative Brad Sherman, another Californian who has supported impeachment in the past, endorsed Ms. Pelosi’s approach.
But Representative Val B. Demings of Florida, a former police chief who sits on the Judiciary Committee and spoke on the call “as a 27-year law enforcement officer,” said she was grappling with the severity of Mr. Mueller’s findings. She signaled that she might be open to moving to impeachment more quickly.
“While I understand we need to see the full report and all supporting documents, I believe we have enough evidence now,” she said. She added, “We are struggling to justify why we aren’t beginning impeachment proceedings.”
Representative Jared Huffman of California urged colleagues to think not just about the political downsides of impeachment but also of the implications of not impeaching Mr. Trump, according to three people on the call.”
It is my opinion that Pelosi and the Democrats should not move to impeach Trump as despicable as he is as president. The more important goal for the Democrats is to win the presidential election in 2020. Impeachment is potentially a loser for them and for the country.