The latest poll from NBC News/Wall Street Journal is putting increasing pressure on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to begin impeachment proceedings against the president. It showed support for impeachment from rank-and-file Democrats increasing from 30 percent to almost 50 percent in just the last month.
The poll of 1,825 adults taken between June 8-11 showed 48 percent of Democrats supporting filing impeachment papers against the president.
Talk of impeaching the president began even before he took office. There was an effort to impeach in 2017 when the House was still in Republican hands. The bill to impeach failed by a vote of 58-364.
That was then. Now, the Democrat caucus is growing increasingly restless under Speaker Pelosi’s iron fist. A month ago, 57 House Democrats favored moving ahead with impeachment, but that number now exceeds 60 and continues to grow.
Pelosi has come down hard on anyone promoting impeachment to the press. Private conversations behind closed doors supporting impeaching are acceptable, but permission must be sought and given before any such position is expressed to the press. The Washington Post reported just how Pelosi shut down a potential impeachment explosion in May. A cowed Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, left that meeting and said, “Impeachment is a political act, and you cannot impeach a president if the American people will not support it.”
But what if, in their perception, the “American people” (i.e., likely Democrat voters) change their collective mind? What then?
Pelosi clearly said on Sunday in an interview with CNN that impeachment is off the table, at least for the time being, calling the move “divisive.” She added, “You have to handle it with great care. It has to be about the truth and the facts to take you to whatever decision has to be there.”
The president is stonewalling Congressional requests and demands for additional documents as the Democrats continue their witch hunt now that the Mueller investigation is over. So Trump has put Pelosi into a delicate and dangerous position: She must somehow respond to the increasing pressure to open impeachment hearings while considering the political risk in doing so. If she makes the wrong decision, that 37-seat advantage her party currently enjoys in the House would be in extreme jeopardy next November.
She has worked behind the scenes to quell that pressure. When House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) told the press that he thought impeachment was “inevitable” during a television appearance two weeks ago, Pelosi’s staff called his office and told them to have Clyburn walk it back.
Another time, when Representaive David Cicilline (D-R.I.) — one of the 60-plus Democrats now favoring impeachment — publicly expressed his views she snapped at him, telling him to soften his rhetoric, or else.
Certainly Pelosi is aware of the risks of taking on the president during this reelection cycle. As smart and politically savvy as she is, having served in Congress since 1987, surely she must know what would happen if the House does in fact impeach the president. The effort would then move to the Senate, where nothing will happen thanks to the Republican majority there.
But the trial in the Senate will include calling witnesses and obtaining testimonies about everything, including the DNC collusion with the Clinton campaign to fix the election in favor of Hillary, the creation of and the funding sources behind the Trump dossier, and the cover-up and destruction of e-mails that very likely include additional incriminating evidence. Witnesses will likely incriminate each other for lying to the FISA court, for spying and wiretapping the Trump election campaign, and for colluding with numerous foreign actors.
That could put Trump firmly into the White House for a second term as a result of voter backlash against Democrat petulance, temper tantrums, and hypocrisy.
Cicilline agrees with this assessment. He said that it’s only a matter of time before the number of pro-impeachment Democrats in the House grows: “In those instances where the president acts in a way where he believes that he’s above the law … additional members of the caucus will be forced into no other choice but to open an impeachment inquiry.”
So does Patrick Buchanan: “If Trump continues to defy subpoenas and denounce those who issue them … the louder will be the clamor of the Democratic base to remove Trump. At some point, Pelosi will have to go along or lose control of her rebellious caucus.”
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