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 TrumpTrump faces high stakes in meeting with Erdoğan amid impeachment drama Democrats worry they don't have right candidate to beat Trump Trump threatening to fire Mulvaney: report 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 PelosiGiuliani pens op-ed slamming 'unprecedented' impeachment inquiry Brindisi, Lamb recommended for Armed Services, Transportation Committees Overnight Health Care: Top health official defends contract payments to Trump allies | Vaping advocates confident Trump will turn from flavor ban | Sanders gets endorsement from nurses union MORE stopped short of endorsing impeachment or signaling her intention to pursue it. 

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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 MuellerSpeier says impeachment inquiry shows 'very strong case of bribery' by Trump Gowdy: I '100 percent' still believe public congressional hearings are 'a circus' Comey: Mueller 'didn't succeed in his mission because there was inadequate transparency' 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 TapperRepublicans, Democrats brace for first public testimony in impeachment inquiry Johnson dismisses testimony from White House officials contradicting Trump as 'just their impression' Saagar Enjeti: Harris campaign 'is failing because she doesn't stand for anything' 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 WarrenDemocrats worry they don't have right candidate to beat Trump Overnight Energy: BLM staff face choice of relocation or resignation as agency moves | Trump says he's 'very much into climate' | EPA rule would expand limits on scientific studies Krystal Ball credits Gabbard's upswing in 2020 race to 'feckless' Democratic establishment MORE (D-Mass.) became the first candidate to call for it in April. Both Warren and Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisOutsider candidates outpoll insider candidates Poll: Buttigieg leads Democratic field in Iowa Press: Another billionaire need not apply MORE (D-Calif.) have said Mueller’s report and subsequent comments constituted an “impeachment referral.”

After Mueller’s public comments, Sens. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerOutsider candidates outpoll insider candidates The Hill's Campaign Report: Bloomberg looks to upend Democratic race Poll: Biden support hits record low of 26 percent MORE (D-N.J.) and Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandSenate panel clears controversial Trump court pick Advocates step up efforts for horse racing reform bill after more deaths Harris proposes keeping schools open for 10 hours a day MORE (D-N.Y.) also called for impeachment proceedings.

Sen. Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetPress: Another billionaire need not apply Democrats debate how to defeat Trump: fight or heal Overnight Energy: EPA watchdog slams agency chief after deputy fails to cooperate in probe | Justices wrestle with reach of Clean Water Act | Bipartisan Senate climate caucus grows 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."