Worried about the public perception of pushing for the impeachment of President Trump less than four months into his presidency, Democratic Party leaders are warning their more excitable members to back off calling for Trump’s ouster.
Democratic leaders have a message for those members of their caucus beating the drum to impeach President Trump: not so fast.
“I would suggest … there needs to be a full investigation first,” Rep. Joseph Crowley (N.Y.), chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, said Wednesday. “We need to get to the facts, and let the facts lead where they may.”
In the eyes of several Democrats, however, the facts already lead to impeachment.
Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) spoke out at a closed-door House Democratic Caucus meeting Wednesday morning to highlight the urgency of removing Trump, whom the Democrats increasingly see as a national security liability.
Almost simultaneously, Rep. Al Green (D-Texas) took to the House floor to trumpet the impeachment call he’d sounded earlier in the week. He characterized his decision as a “position of conscience.”
It’s the first time in her long career that Rep. Waters has given a fig about “national security.” And Mr Green: Put a sock in it.
The impeachment debate is forcing Democratic leaders to walk a fine line in their approach to the ongoing Russia-Trump saga. On one hand, the Democrats want to keep the pressure on the White House and tap the energy the remarkable story is generating among members of their base, many of whom support the impeachment route. On the other, they don’t want to politicize their calls for an independent investigation.
“We have to be circumspect as we look at this tale of horrors,” said Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.). “Because we should not give the impression that we are obsessed with removing Donald Trump from office — it will only harden his supporters.
“Based on what I’ve read and heard, Mr. Trump is in trouble, and he doesn’t need any help to get into deeper trouble.”
Top Democratic leaders insist they’re not putting any pressure on their troops to shy away from impeachment calls.
“Members can come to their own conclusions, and we don’t pretend to stand here and speak on behalf of every single individual member of our caucus,” Crowley said.
The “case for impeachment” doesn’t exist — yet. What members have is a tissue of half-truths, unsubstantiated rumors, anonymously sourced reporting, and lots and lots of wishful thinking.
There has not been a shred of hard evidence — video or audio recordings, documents, eyewitness, first-person testimony, or anything else that would stand up in a court of law, much less the court of public opinion.
All we have is a stupid president mouthing off to the Russians about things he shouldn’t have, leaked reports of conversations between Trump aides and the Russians that may or may not be evidence of sinister collusion, and some mysterious memos from fired FBI Director James Comey about being told to back off the Flynn investigation that he somehow forgot to mention when he testified before Congress on May 3.
Democratic leaders don’t want their members talking impeachment because they know it could all blow up in their faces once Special Counsel Mueller starts digging into the controversies. Frankly, I don’t know what he’s going to find and neither does anyone else. But if little or nothing comes of Mueller’s investigation, the Democrats will have handed Republicans some dynamite to throw at their candidates in 2018.