While Democrat leaders seem intent on impeaching Trump a second time for no legitimate reason, there are some in the Democratic caucus who aren’t fully on board, hoping instead to have Congress focused on Biden’s left-wing agenda.
The House is expected to vote on impeachment on Wednesday. But more moderate members of the party have “serious concerns” that such a move is impractical, especially since it is extremely unlikely that the Senate would vote to convict.
“How does this affect Joe Biden’s presidency in terms of his cabinet and other legislation necessary to address the Covid-19 crisis, and in terms of his goal to unite the country,” said a House Democratic aide, who spoke with NBC News anonymously. “Of course this guy should be punished, but how can we do this in a way that doesn’t negatively affect a country that is still reeling from an ongoing health and economic crisis?”
The aide also said some moderate Democrats worry that impeachment would “harden Trump’s base and turn him into a martyr instead of keeping him on his heels with a fractured GOP.”
But others claim their party is united on impeachment.
“There is a broad consensus in our caucus that this president must be impeached and removed from office. He presents a clear and present danger to our democracy,” said Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.), a chief sponsor of the impeachment article. “I think that we should pass it and the Senate should take it up immediately.”
If Democrats proceed with impeachment and trigger an impeachment trial, all other Senate business would be tabled until the trial (which, again, is extremely unlikely to end in conviction) is completed, meaning that Biden’s legislative agenda would be put on hold for a futile effort that is likely only to enrage Trump supporters. Any single Republican senator would be able to prevent unanimous consent to consider other business, like legislation.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has made it all but impossible for a Senate trial to take place before Trump leaves office.
Perhaps the biggest issue with pursuing impeachment is that such a move would doom Biden’s oft-claimed desire for unity. As the de facto leader of the party, he could easily throw cold water on impeachment in favor of moving on and healing the nation. So far, he has refused to do so.
Matt Margolis is the author of Airborne: How The Liberal Media Weaponized The Coronavirus Against Donald Trump, and the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis