Momentum Around Impeachment Continues to Build Despite Pelosi Comments
While House Speaker Nancy Pelosi attempted to tamp down talk of impeachment last week, the demand for action on impeachment continues to grow. An increasing chorus of voices spanning from journalists, to legal experts, to prominent members of the Democratic caucus is increasingly declaring that it is time to take action against this reckless and lawless president.
Below is an overview of how some Members of Congress, journalists, and influencers responded to Speaker Pelosi’s comments:
JOURNALISTS & INFLUENCERS:
Journalist Elizabeth Drew, author of a book about Watergate:
@ElizabethDrewOH: With all due respect, Madame Speaker, Nixon’s in-effect impeachment didn’t start out bipartisan. That developed with the evidence.
Contributing editor at The New Republic Jeet Heer:
@HeerJeet: I think of impeachment as a political rather than legal process but even I’m disturbed by what it means to have a president repeatedly commit impeachable acts and not be held accountable by congress.
New York Times opinion columnist Jamelle Bouie:
@jbouie there’s also something to be said about leading public opinion. if americans are reticent about impeachment it may be because political elites talk about impeachment as something to be avoided
Pelosi’s suggestion that impeachment hearings can proceed only with “bipartisan” support is also unnecessarily self-constraining. Historian Kevin Kruse points out that majority support for President Richard M. Nixon’s removal didn’t develop until after the impeachment inquiry commenced. This can’t be the threshold for beginning an inquiry.
It’s possible that Pelosi genuinely believes the downsides to the country of hearings absent bipartisan backing militate against them no matter what the facts demand. If so, let’s litigate that, too. It’s also odd to hear the argument that no inquiry should happen simply because the Senate probably would never convict. Impeachment hearings would be carried out to benefit the public and the country, and thus can’t turn on projections of the ultimate outcome.
Founder and former editor-in-chief of ThinkProgress Judd Legum:
@JuddLegum: I think Pelosi is an effective leader, mostly, but this is constitutionally deficient. If you rule out impeachment, you are abandoning an essential check on the president. It is the only practical way to remove a president from office who has broken the law.
Senior Writer at Rolling Stone Jamil Smith:
@JamilSmith President Trump may have committed crimes in office, including the obstruction of justice into the investigation of foreign interference in his own election. Leave aside, even, his past financial improprieties and various bigotries. He is worth impeaching.
Contributor to The Nation Joshua Holland:
@JoshuaHol: Removal from office isn’t the only thing they might achieve through impeachment. If they nail down compelling evidence of crimes, the impeachment process is a very good way to get a lot of public attention on what they find.
Crooked Media’s Brian Beutler:
@brianbeutler: The Democrats’ great impeachment abdication. […] Democrats long ago gave the Republican Party a silent veto over the question of whether Trump should be held accountable for anything. […] Democrats have announced they will stop the process short unless Republicans suddenly become willing to do the right thing. And that makes Pelosi’s declaration, if it holds, an abdication all Democrats will come to regret. […] In short: Democratic leaders need to drop the condition that impeachment in the House must be bipartisan, and they should do it quickly.
MEMBERS OF CONGRESS:
“You don’t impeach Trump for him; you impeach Trump for the Constitution.”
“I wouldn’t go as far as the Speaker. If we’re presented with compelling evidence that the president committed impeachable offenses, I think we have to vote for impeachment.”
“It is never appropriate to proceed with impeachment for political reasons. It is never appropriate not to proceed with impeachment for political reasons […] This determination will be driven solely by the facts. If the facts require us to initiate removal of the president, we are obligated to do it. If the facts don’t support it, we won’t.”
Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), who sits on the House Oversight and Judiciary committees, said impeaching the president isn’t about “whether or not the president is worth it. The question is, whether the republic is worth it, and whether the public interest commands it, and whether there are high crimes and misdemeanors.”
“I don’t think it’s something we decide whether or not it’s ‘worth it,’ ” Jayapal said Monday night. “If it’s a consistent pattern of abuse of power, of obstruction of justice . . . then that to me seems like it will be impeachable.”
“I happen to disagree with that take,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., told the Washington Examiner Monday night, responding to the Pelosi interview. “But you know, she’s the speaker. … I think we’ll see.”
“I fully understand where Speaker Pelosi is coming from,” he said. “She makes valid points. But in my opinion, if impeachment is to mean anything and it is in the Constitution for a reason, it is because when we see evidence of impeachable offenses, we need to start the process to remove the president from office,” Yarmouth, the chairman of the House Budget Committee, said.
“I think we are essentially in the beginning of an impeachment process… I don’t think right now there’s any way that we could 218 votes on the floor of the House for an impeachment resolution, but I think that’s not a matter of whether it’s a matter of when,” Yarmuth said.
Rep. Al Green, D-Texas, who has also introduced articles of impeachment against Trump, also defended the idea, without directly criticizing Pelosi. “Is government of the people, by the people, for the people worth it? Is the country worth it?” he said Tuesday. “Do we want to maintain the country that we have? If we do, we have to then conclude that this is not about Democrats, it’s about democracy. It’s not about Republicans, it’s about the republic.
“And if we conclude that it’s about democracy and about the republic then we can embrace Article 2, Section 4 of the constitution which deals with impeachment of an unfit president.”
“I disagree with her,” Representative Juan C. Vargas, Democrat of California, said on Tuesday. “The Constitution is clear: If there’s an impeachable offense, we should impeach the president or impeach whoever. And that’s what we should do: Follow the Constitution and not politics.”
Impeachment “is going to come together,” said House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters, D-Calif., when Americans “are absolutely demanding it, and you have some Republicans who can’t take it anymore and some of us who have the courage to do it.”