Top Dems tread carefully on impeachment

Top Dems tread carefully on impeachment

Top House Democrats are treading carefully on the issue of impeaching President TrumpDonald John TrumpGOP senator introduces bill to hold online platforms liable for political bias Rubio responds to journalist who called it 'strange' to see him at Trump rally Rubio responds to journalist who called it 'strange' to see him at Trump rally MORE, despite growing calls for action from the party's base and its crowded field of 2020 presidential candidates.

Amid shouts of “impeach” during comments at the California Democratic Party convention on Saturday, Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPelosi slated to deliver remarks during panel hearing on poverty The DNC's climate problems run deep Cracks form in Democratic dam against impeachment MORE stopped short of endorsing impeachment or signaling her intention to pursue it. 

ADVERTISEMENT

The California Democrat instead spoke about what Trump could be “covering up” and accused him of “welcoming ... the assault on our democracy.”

She also vowed to continue various House investigations of Trump’s administration and businesses.

"This isn't about politics, it isn't about partisanship, Democrats versus Republicans, no," Pelosi said.

"It's about patriotism, it's about the sanctity of the Constitution and it's about the future of our nation," she added. "We will go where the facts lead us. We will insist on the truth. We will build an ironclad case to act."

Pelosi's stance has drawn the ire of the party’s progressive wing. That pressure has intensified since the release of special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerKamala Harris says her Justice Dept would have 'no choice' but to prosecute Trump for obstruction Kamala Harris says her Justice Dept would have 'no choice' but to prosecute Trump for obstruction Dem committees win new powers to investigate Trump MORE’s report and his rare public statement on the Russia investigation last week, when he said that if his team intended to say their findings exonerated Trump of criminal activity, “we would have said so.”

A top member of Pelosi's leadership team, House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.), said Sunday, however, that he believes Trump will be impeached “at some point.”

Asked if he believes House Democrats will eventually begin impeachment proceedings, the third-ranking House Democrat told CNN’s Jake TapperJacob (Jake) Paul TapperThe Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by MAPRx — All eyes on Trump as 2020 bid begins The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by MAPRx — All eyes on Trump as 2020 bid begins Buttigieg on Harris call to prosecute Trump: DOJ 'should have nothing to do with politics' MORE, "Yes, that's exactly what I feel."

Clyburn directly referenced Pelosi’s remarks one day earlier, telling Tapper, “What Nancy Pelosi is trying to do, and the rest of us in the House of Representatives, is to develop a process by which we can efficiently move on this issue so that when we get to a vote, it would be something that she calls ironclad, I call effective. And that is why we are trying to take our time and do this right.”

Clyburn also said that Democratic leadership is less concerned with the Republican-controlled Senate, where a two-thirds majority vote is needed to convict and remove a president from office, than with successfully convincing the public of the necessity of impeachment before the process can begin.

New polling indicates that while impeachment has risen in popularity since Mueller’s remarks, a majority remains opposed to it. A CNN poll released Sunday found that 41 percent of Americans support impeaching Trump, compared to 54 percent who oppose it. The percentage of Americans favoring impeachment is up 4 percentage points from last month, driven largely by increased support among Democrats, 76 percent of whom are now in favor.

But Republican Sen. John KennedyJohn Neely KennedyMORE (R-La.) stressed on Sunday that a majority of Americans remain opposed to impeachment, saying the process “polls right up there with skim milk among the American people.”

Kennedy said that if Democrats have made up their minds to impeach Trump, continuing to debate about it was a waste of time.

"My advice to my Democratic friends is if you want to do it, go hard or go home," Kennedy said on CBS’s "Face the Nation."

"If you want to do it, go to Amazon online, buy a spine and do it. ... If you’re not going to do it, then let us get back to work," he added.

Calls for impeachment have grown increasingly common in the crowded Democratic presidential field as well.

Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenSanders tears into Trump in response to campaign kickoff rally Sanders tears into Trump in response to campaign kickoff rally Warren introduces universal child care legislation MORE (D-Mass.) became the first candidate to call for it in April. Both Warren and Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisBiden, Sanders to be center stage at first debate Biden, Sanders to be center stage at first debate Poll: Six Dems lead Trump in Florida match-ups MORE (D-Calif.) have said Mueller’s report and subsequent comments constituted an “impeachment referral.”

After Mueller’s public comments, Sens. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerWarren introduces universal child care legislation Warren introduces universal child care legislation Booker responds to Trump's mass deportation threat: 'This is not who we are' MORE (D-N.J.) and Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandOvernight Health Care: Democrats attack after Trump revives talk of ObamaCare replacement | Cruz, Ocasio-Cortez efforts on birth control face major obstacles | CVS investing M to fight teen e-cig use Overnight Health Care: Democrats attack after Trump revives talk of ObamaCare replacement | Cruz, Ocasio-Cortez efforts on birth control face major obstacles | CVS investing M to fight teen e-cig use Trump's 2020 campaign strategy is to be above the law MORE (D-N.Y.) also called for impeachment proceedings.

Sen. Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetDemocratic presidential hopefuls react to debate placement Democratic presidential hopefuls react to debate placement The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by MAPRx — Biden, Sanders to share stage at first DNC debate MORE (D-Colo.), however, urged caution, saying last Thursday night that while he believes Trump has committed impeachable offenses, "we have to go through the process."

"One of the problems with our politics today is we want to go out and tweet and immediately react, a race to judgment, and we need to be more strategic than that," he added. "I'm not saying we shouldn't follow this evidence where it leads, but I am saying we should bring the American people."