Many Democrats have been angered by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi because she has refused to lead a fight for the impeachment of Donald Trump. She has been skillful in keeping her troops in line. Her reasoning has been that we’re only about a year away from the presidential election. She has preferred to continue to investigate, to keep Trump on the hot seat, but without the appearance of a partisan, well, “witch-hunt.”
The Washington Examiner notes that Pelosi has been encouraging committees to investigate, but not to go directly to impeachment.
In private conversations with Democrats, Pelosi has urged the rank and file to focus on winning in 2020, lawmakers familiar with the conversations told the Washington Examiner. Democrats feel confident they can oust Trump through the ballot box and impeachment would be futile and politically dangerous.
However, rank-and-file Democrats are pushing for impeachment now in an ad.
“This is a message for leaders of the Democratic Party. For over two years this president has broken the law, and nothing happened. You told us to wait for the Mueller investigation and when he showed obstruction of justice, nothing happened. When this president took money from foreign governments and blocked the release of his tax returns, nothing happened. And when his administration illegally refused to testify, nothing happened. Now you tell us to wait for the next election? Really? This is why we volunteered, raised money, went door to door, and voted in the last election. Our founding fathers expected YOU, Congress, to hold a lawless president accountable. And you’re doing nothing,” people in the ad say. “Nothing. Nothing. Nothing.”
One of the reasons Pelosi has held back the impeachment pressure is that she remembers that the GOP was punished in 1998, because of the impeachment of Bill Clinton. But Elizabeth Warren says things are different today.
In fact, Clinton’s approval rating soared to 73% following the GOP-led impeachment. And the House Republican majority shrunk that year. . .
But the substance of the current impeachment debate is quite different. In the case of Clinton, a large portion of America saw the investigation as revolving around the private life of the President. . . Public opinion has reflected that a majority or close to a majority of the public has continued to approve of Mueller, despite the constant attacks from the President. Meanwhile, Trump has yet to win a majority of American voter support in his first two years in office. It would seem, then, that the public agrees that the substance of the charges is serious, and the content of the Mueller report only intensifies the severity of what the President has done while in office.
We should also look at the lasting effects. Yes, the GOP lost seats in 1998, and Newt Gingrich lost his position when he was blamed for pushing impeachment. However, Republicans have pretty much run Washington since 2000, except for the first two years of Barack Obama’s presidency.
Republicans led the impeachment and trial of Andrew Johnson in 1868, and they nonetheless made gains in the Congress and won the White House that year. A largely Democrat-led impeachment investigation of Nixon led to his resignation in 1974, and was followed by massive Democratic successes in the mid-terms that year, and Democrats seizing the White House two years later.
Most recently, the GOP was pursuing Bill Clinton. . .impeached and tried Clinton, there was a presidential election in which the GOP took control of the White House and kept the Congress, with “Clinton scandal fatigue” cited as a source of voter anger with the incumbent party even during a strong economy.
One can also easily imagine that Republican senators protecting an impeached, unpopular, scandal-tainted Trump from removal would not look particularly good for their party in the elections.
Regarding Trump’s approval, we used a chart from RealClearPolitics to show that although Trump’s approval has improved over the past year, using technical analysis, at the current rate, it will take Trump until almost a year after next year’s election to reach 50% approval.
Britain’s The Guardian says that, in addition to Mueller’s obstruction of justice charges, Trump may have also committed witness tampering.
Robert Mueller’s report effectively accused Donald Trump of obstructing justice by witness tampering, one of the offences that led Republicans to impeach Bill Clinton 20 years ago.
Mueller’s team found Trump repeatedly made efforts to “encourage witnesses not to cooperate with the investigation” into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, the special counsel’s final report said.
Pelosi may not be able to hold back the charge toward impeachment. That’s because there’s one person who seems to be pushing for it: Donald J. Trump.
“Trump is goading us to impeach him, that’s what he’s doing every single day. He’s just taunting, taunting, taunting because he knows it would be divisive in the country,” Pelosi said during an event at Cornell University on Tuesday. “But he doesn’t really care, he wants to solidify his base.”
What is shaping up as a Constitutional crisis is about Congress asking for information and the White House refusing to provide it. Trump’s champion, William Barr, says there is no legislative reason for a lot of what Congress is requesting. And that has changed everything.
Now, according to Fox, Nancy Pelosi is saying that the House may be forced into beginning impeachment proceedings—in order to justify, without a doubt, that there is a “legislative reason” to review the materials. The plot thickens.
In the second part of this article, we’ll look at the Republican response.
Editor’s Note: This article is part 1 of a series on this topic.