House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is beginning to hear from moderates in the Democratic Party about the relentless pursuit of impeaching President Donald Trump, although it’s undecided which is more newsworthy, that some members are not supportive of impeachment or that there are moderates in the party.
With the hard-left faction of the party seemingly in control and obsessed with removing Trump from office, a closed-door meeting was held last week and centrists told Pelosi this focus threatened to swamp the Democratic agenda and possibly hurt them at the ballot box, Politico reported.
The meeting reportedly took place Wednesday, one day before the House Judiciary Committee passed a resolution setting procedures and rules for future impeachment investigation hearings.
Rep. Anthony Brindisi, D-N.Y., voiced his frustrations directly to Pelosi, according to Politico.
“It’s very frustrating for me — someone coming from a district that was one of the districts that helped get us into the majority — having so much focus on things like impeachment or other issues that are divisive,” Brindisi said in an interview. “We should be focusing on the kitchen table issues.”
The lawmaker said other swing-district freshmen have expressed similar concerns.
Citing an internal memo, Politico reported that Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., co-chair of the Blue Dog Coalition, highlighted troubling polling from the party showing that voters think they are “prioritizing impeachment over other issues.”
Democratic Rep. Donna Shalala, the former secretary of Health and Human Services under President Clinton, told reporters that impeachment is “sucking the air out of all the good stuff that we’re doing.”
Pelosi has been walking a fine line, trying to downplay talk about impeachment while accommodating word games from Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.
The California Democrat reportedly told the moderates that she was aware of their concerns and stressed that the party does not have 218 votes for impeachment while reminding them that the full House must launch impeachment proceedings — about half of the caucus is currently on board.
Even if Nadler does insist his panel is engaged in an impeachment investigation.
And he’s not the only Democrat playing word games.
House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., was asked Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation” if an impeachment investigation is taking place, rather than standard committee oversight.
“Yes, we’re doing an investigation that will ultimately determine whether the president should be impeached,” he said, adding, “There’s certainly an investigation underway.”
Trump-hating progressives see it as their moral duty to oust Trump, who they deem guilty of committing crimes, as seen in remarks from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.
“We have to do our job,” the democratic socialist told reporters last week. “I want to see every Republican go on the record and knowingly vote against impeachment of this president, knowing his corruption, having it on the record so that they can have that stain on their careers for the rest of their lives.”
In a separate appearance on “Face the Nation,” Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., said that it’s not a question of “if,” but “when.”
“It wasn’t if we were going to impeach, it’s when we were going to impeach, and I think it is okay for some people to have hesitations, for other people to catch up to where some of us have been for a really long time,” Omar said.
One thing is certain, Pelosi is frustrated with all the questions about impeachment, walking out of her weekly press conference on Thursday.
“Legislate, investigate, litigate. That’s the path that we’ve been on, and that’s the path we continue to be on,” the speaker insisted, adding the American people “understand that impeachment is a very divisive measure.”
But Pelosi seemed to indicated they are not currently in the process of impeachment.
“But if we have to go there, we’ll have to go there,” she said. “But we can’t go there unless we have the facts, and we will follow the facts … and make our decision when we’re ready.”
“I’m not answering any more questions about a possible inquiry, investigation, and the rest,” Pelosi said at one point, before eventually cutting the press conference short.
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