Democrats in House Leadership Rebel Against Pelosi on Impeachment
At the Time 100 Summit in April, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., played down speculation that the Democratic caucus was divided over whether President Trump should face impeachment proceedings. According to Roll Call, when asked whether support for impeachment was growing among House Democrats, Pelosi answered, “You would think so as far as how it is amplified, but I don’t think it’s a growing number.”
On Monday night, her words seemed like wishful thinking. As The Washington Post reported, “Several members of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s leadership team pressed her to begin an impeachment inquiry against President Trump … an effort the speaker rebuffed each time.”
According to the Post’s sources, at least five members of the leadership team advocated for beginning an impeachment inquiry. Four of them are on the House Judiciary Committee, which has authority over impeachment. Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., who heads the Judiciary Committee, followed up hours later with a separate plea, which Pelosi also rejected.
Rep. David N. Cicilline, D-R.I., who supports beginning impeachment proceedings, told the Post that such proceedings would strengthen ongoing investigations: “There’s no doubt that opening an inquiry strengthens the hand of Congress in forcing compliance with subpoenas, whether it’s for documents or individuals.” Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla., echoed Cicilline, adding, “We should be having the conversation about . . . how this will help us break through the stonewalling of the administration.”
On Monday night Pelosi and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said that opening impeachment proceedings would weaken the existing congressional investigations into the president and his circle. They also said the idea was not supported by others in the caucus. Additionally, with a Republican-controlled Senate, Pelosi fears the effort would be voted down in the upper chamber.
Also notable, the Post observes, is that this situation, “marks the first time a chairman and top rank-and-file lawmakers—including members of Pelosi’s leadership team—have lobbied her to change her long-held position on impeachment. Judiciary Committee members for days have discussed how to move the speaker toward their thinking, but few have been willing to break with her publicly.”
Public opinion is slowly changing on the possibility of an impeachment inquiry. According to a May Reuters/Ipsos poll, 45% of Americans believe President Trump should be impeached. While short of a majority, it was a 5% increase from the same poll conducted the previous month. The day Reuters released the poll, Reps. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., and Al Green, D-Texas, and a coalition of activist groups delivered a petition with 10 million signatures to Congress, calling for impeachment.
Overall, however, the decision comes down to the House leadership, especially Pelosi. The Post points out that many other elected officials believed that “if anyone could change Pelosi’s mind, it would be her chairman. However, Nadler’s effort to lobby her on the matter Monday didn’t appear to work—at least not at this time.”Wait, before you go…
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