08192019What's Hot:

‘We’re at an inflection point’: More Dems pressure Pelosi on impeachment

Speaker Nancy Pelosi will hold a closed-door meeting Wednesday to fully brief members on the House Democrats’ sprawling oversight efforts and investigations. | J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo

Speaker Nancy Pelosi doesn’t want to impeach President Donald Trump, but a growing number of her members are trying to drag her there.

Despite repeated pronouncements from the California Democrat that she doesn’t want to try to remove Trump from office — including taking a hard line in a tense leadership meeting Monday night — Pelosi faces increasing calls from her rank and file to trigger an impeachment inquiry.

Story Continued Below

“It’s time to start,” said Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas), a member of the House Intelligence Committee.

Pelosi is now attempting to keep her caucus in line as the White House continues to fuel the conflict with the new House majority over its investigations. Trump on Tuesday blocked his former White House counsel from testifying in a highly-anticipated hearing with the House Judiciary Committee. Lawmakers on the panel, which has jurisdiction over impeachment proceedings, said former White House counsel Don McGahn’s no-show was an “inflection point” in their thinking about what should happen next.

Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), a member of the Judiciary Committee, said he has drafted articles of impeachment and they’re “ready to go.” But he said he won’t file them until the House hears from special counsel Robert Mueller about his report describing efforts by Trump to thwart his two-year Russia investigation. He also said Democrats are grappling with what to do if they support impeachment but can’t convince Pelosi to do the same.

“I think that that’s a difficult internal political dynamic that the speaker, the chairman and the members have to process,” Cohen said. He added that “it’s not gonna be easy” to convince Pelosi to change her mind.

true

Pelosi and her top deputies announced they will hold a closed-door meeting Wednesday to fully brief members on the House Democrats’ sprawling oversight efforts and investigations — an attempt to mollify the faction of Democrats who have begun to demand more drastic measures against Trump.

But at a closed-door meeting late Monday, Pelosi rejected calls from House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler to move ahead with an impeachment inquiry, according to multiple sources. Nadler was also instructed to tell members of the panel not to bring up the notion of an impeachment inquiry at the panel’s high-profile hearing Tuesday, where McGahn defied a Democratic subpoena.

Calls for that impeachment inquiry surfaced in multiple closed-door meetings Monday, as frustrated members of the Judiciary Committee vented about the White House’s repeated stonewalling of their investigation and bluntly urged Pelosi to begin the impeachment process.

“Yes, we do need to start an inquiry,” said Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon (D-Pa.), one of several members of Judiciary who sharpened her stance his week.

“I think we’re at an inflection point. We’re no longer dealing with a president who obstructed the Mueller inquiry. He’s now obstructing Congress at every turn including telling witnesses who no longer work for the government that they cannot speak about public documents,” Scanlon said.

Several other key Judiciary members, including Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chair Pramila Jayapal, also said for the first time this week that they backed an impeachment inquiry.

Other members, though, urged caution. Rep. Lucy McBath (D-Ga.) hails from a Republican-leaning district and said she worries about the politics of the committee’s Trump investigation every day.

Jerry Nadler

“I don’t take joy in this process at all and I’m in great angst over this,” McBath said. “Nobody wants to see that we’re thinking about impeaching the leader of the free world. I don’t want to have to do that. “

McBath said the committee should stay focused on efforts to win subpoena fights in court — a push that got a boost Monday when a federal judge ruled that Congress has broad latitude to investigate the president, even without opening an impeachment inquiry.

Reps. Lou Correa (D-Pa.) and Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) similarly suggested that Congress should stay its current course and not necessarily pursue impeachment immediately.

The issue did not come up at the caucus’ hour-long meeting Tuesday morning, which focused on the Trump administration’s heightened tensions with Iran.

But with McGahn defying Democrats, impeachment was on the minds of many rank-and-file members — several of whom say they were warming to the idea of moving toward impeachment.

“A couple of more moves like that latest is probably going to push me over. And I don’t celebrate it, it’s not something that makes me happy,” Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) said.

Nadler stopped short of endorsing an impeachment push publicly at Tuesday’s empty-chair hearing with McGahn. But he vowed to take action in response.

“We will hold this president accountable, one way or the other,” Nadler said.

Key members of leadership are also backing up the speaker, who worries any impeachment push would distract from the party’s agenda and could backfire politically.

“It’s clear to anybody who’s paying attention. We’re in the majority because of… [members] who did not run on impeachment, did not run on collusion, did not run on obstruction of justice,” said House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.)

“That remains the North Star for the overwhelming majority of the House Democratic Caucus,” he said.

Other Pelosi allies insisted any movement toward impeachment was mostly contained to the Judiciary Committee.

“Judiciary members may be intense. But I fully support Nancy Pelosi where she is right now,” Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) said. “We also have to deliver on prescription drugs and infrastructure, and a partisan impeachment would tear this country apart.”

John Bresnahan contributed to this story.

This article tagged under:

Missing out on the latest scoops? Sign up for POLITICO Playbook and get the latest news, every morning — in your inbox.

Source: Politics, Policy, Political News Top Stories

comments powered by HyperComments

More on the topic