House Democrats are still extremely leery of bringing articles of impeachment against Donald Trump and are still waiting on the Mueller report before they make their move.
For House Democrats, impeaching President Donald Trump is both inevitable and impossible.
Democrats anticipate they will gather plenty of evidence of high crimes and misdemeanors on the president’s part, but they’re torn over what to do with it — fearful that their efforts will backfire and end up helping Trump.
“You don’t want to divide the country, so you have to think you have such a case that once the case is finished being presented, enough people understand you had to do it,” House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), whose committee has the power to launch impeachment proceedings, said in an interview.
While Nadler cautioned that his standard for impeachment “doesn’t mean you have to have Republican votes,” he said Democrats need to win over at least some voters who backed Trump in the 2016 election — a difficult feat for Democrats as Republicans have remained loyal to the president and have largely backed his criticisms of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation and other probes ensnaring the president and his associates.
“[Mueller], plus the hearings we have, might produce enough information where some people will open their minds — but right now, a can opener couldn’t get ‘em open,” Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), a senior member of the Judiciary panel, said of Republicans.
That reality underscores Democrats’ conundrum as they interview witnesses and demand documents as part of the sprawling oversight arsenal they’ve set into motion. Interviews with more than a dozen key Democratic lawmakers revealed deep divisions within the caucus about whether their efforts could end up helping Trump win a second term in office.
They’ve set the bar for impeachment so high that lawmakers are skeptical that removing Trump from office with bipartisan support would be achievable, leaving many Democrats pondering their endgame.
For that reason, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and committee chairs have broached the impeachment topic cautiously, arguing it should be considered only after the various federal and congressional investigations of the president are complete. A notable exception is Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), who chairs the House Financial Services Committee and has said there is already enough evidence to impeach Trump.
But even as senior Democrats resist the prospect of impeachment, demands from the caucus’ progressive wing and liberal grassroots groups to remove Trump from office are only rising. Pelosi will come under enormous pressure if the committees uncover sufficient evidence of wrongdoing.
But Democrats are torn over whether they should rely on Republicans and risk an uproar from their left flank, or impeach Trump in the House and risk the political backlash.
The choice will be made for Democrats soon, I would think. Ideally they would want a Mueller Report so damning that bipartisan impeachment is a done deal. If there was any other Republican senator other than Mitch McConnell leading the GOP, I would even say there's a mathematical possibility that could work.
This country will burn when it happens though. It will be 1973-4 all over again.