Extent of Trump impeachment talk is unprecedented, says White House correspondent

New York Times White House correspondent Peter Baker said on “Rising” that the length of time people have been discussing President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate gears up for battle over witnesses in impeachment trial Vulnerable Democrats tout legislative wins, not impeachment Trump appears to set personal record for tweets in a day MORE’s impeachment is unprecedented.

“You haven’t seen a president like this who has from the very beginning been able to battle this idea of impeachment,” Baker, who is currently promoting a new book he co-authored, told Hill.TV co-hosts Krystal Ball and Buck Sexton on Wednesday.

“He was just barely elected and people started talking about this with Donald Trump, so in that context we wanted to try to provide a little bit of history and a little bit of facts for people for this conversation that we’re probably going to have after this election,” he continued.

The journalist warned that removing Trump from office cannot be a partisan issue, emphasizing that Republicans must be on board with impeachment proceedings in order for it to come to fruition, citing President Clinton as just one example.

“A partisan impeachment won’t work — didn’t work under Andrew Johnson, he was acquitted in the Senate trial, didn’t work under Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonJudiciary members battle over whether GOP treated fairly in impeachment hearings Lawmakers clash on Trump, Clinton impeachment comparisons Live coverage: House panel debates articles of impeachment MORE, he was acquitted in the Senate trial,” he told Hill.TV.

Baker added that impeaching Trump is “hard to conceive” of unless special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerJeffries blasts Trump for attack on Thunberg at impeachment hearing Live coverage: House panel debates articles of impeachment Trump says he'll release financial records before election, knocks Dems' efforts MORE “comes up with something that changes that dynamic.”

Mueller began his probe into Russia meddling in the 2016 presidential election shortly after Trump took office and has yet to issue a report on his findings. The president, meanwhile, has attacked the investigation as a “witch hunt” and a “hoax.”

Talks of Trump’s impeachment could be a motivating factor for both parties ahead of November’s midterm elections, but Baker warns that Democrats need to be especially careful when it comes to using these discussions as a means to rally their base.

“Democrats have a problem, though, assuming they win, if they do win, they have a base that is so riled up, so angry at President Trump that they’re going to push their leadership to go for impeachment proceedings even if there’s no chance of conviction in the Senate,” he said.

Top Democrats, including House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiVulnerable Democrats tout legislative wins, not impeachment Photographer leaves Judiciary hearing after being accused of taking photos of member notes Overnight Health Care — Presented by That's Medicaid — House passes sweeping Pelosi bill to lower drug prices | Senate confirms Trump FDA pick | Trump officials approve Medicaid work requirements in South Carolina MORE (Calif.), remain wary of any talk about removing Trump from office.

Even some progressives, such as Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), have also warned fellow Democrats not to rush into impeachment proceedings before Mueller concludes his investigation.

“My view is that impeachment, like the power to declare war, is one of the gravest responsibilities of Congress — it should never be our first option, it should be something done only after the facts and the law, so let’s see what Robert Mueller’s investigation ultimately reveals,” Lieu told Hill.TV.

— Tess Bonn