Impeach Trump? House Democrats Face Delicate Choice As Lawmakers, But Not Public, Push For Action

The drumbeat is intensifying in the House of Representatives to impeach President Donald Trump, but it’s not clear yet whether the entire chamber will march to that tune.

A majority of House Democrats has called for a formal impeachment inquiry, a list that grew as lawmakers returned to their districts for Congress' summer break. And lawmakers are taking steps toward doing that: The Judiciary Committee has scheduled a hearing in September with Trump's former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and former White House aides. Federal courts could order the release any time of secret grand-jury evidence from former special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election.

But even as support builds on the left, the prospect of getting it done seems remote. A majority of the American public doesn't think the House should seriously consider impeaching Trump, according to a series of three USA TODAY/Suffolk University polls this year. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has tamped down expectations by saying the American people must be persuaded with the strongest possible case.

The result is that Democratic lawmakers return to Washington this fall in a delicate position. A majority of the Democratic caucus leading the House, which is the chamber in charge of deciding whether to impeach the president, have come out in favor, putting pressure on the chamber's leaders to move forward. But those calls have reached a crescendo at a time when most Americans disagree, and when the party is already trying to find a way to defeat Trump in the 2020 election.

“Nancy Pelosi is a pretty good student of history and she recognizes what a disaster this would be so close to the 2020 election, particularly if you look at the polls,” said Ford O’Connell, an adjunct professor at George Washington University’s graduate school of political management and Republican presidential strategist. “She knows better.”

“The whole Nadler thing is just to drag people forward so they can have a spectacle to pacify the base,” said O’Connell, the Republican strategist. “This is politics.”

Read more from Bart Jansen at USA Today

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published this page in In The News 2019-09-06 15:39:49 -0400
Analysis & Political Strategy