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's newest Russia adviser, Andrew Peek, leaves post: report Hawley expects McConnell's final impeachment resolution to give White House defense ability to motion to dismiss Trump rips New York City sea wall: 'Costly, foolish' and 'environmentally unfriendly idea' 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 PelosiREAD: House impeachment managers' trial brief Desperate Democrats badmouth economy even as it booms Pelosi offers message to Trump on Bill Maher show: 'You are impeached forever' 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 MuellerSchiff: Trump acquittal in Senate trial would not signal a 'failure' Jeffries blasts Trump for attack on Thunberg at impeachment hearing Live coverage: House Judiciary to vote on impeachment after surprise delay 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 TapperSteyer says 'grassroots organizing' in Nevada, South Carolina got him on debate stage Pentagon chief says he 'didn't see' intelligence suggesting Iran planned to attack four US embassies Ex-White House press, military officials call on Grisham to restart regular briefings 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 WarrenThe Memo: Sanders-Warren battle could reshape Democratic primary Environmental activists interrupt Buttigieg in New Hampshire Pence to visit Iowa days before caucuses MORE (D-Mass.) became the first candidate to call for it in April. Both Warren and Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisParnas pressure grows on Senate GOP Sanders defends vote against USMCA: 'Not a single damn mention' of climate change The Hill's Morning Report — President Trump on trial MORE (D-Calif.) have said Mueller’s report and subsequent comments constituted an “impeachment referral.”

After Mueller’s public comments, Sens. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerSunday shows preview: Lawmakers gear up for Senate impeachment trial DNC announces new criteria for New Hampshire debate The Hill's Campaign Report: Sanders, Warren feud rattles Democrats MORE (D-N.J.) and Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandSanders defends vote against USMCA: 'Not a single damn mention' of climate change The Hill's Morning Report — President Trump on trial Overnight Energy: Schumer votes against USMCA, citing climate impact | Republicans offer details on their environmental proposals | Microsoft aims to be carbon negative by 2030 MORE (D-N.Y.) also called for impeachment proceedings.

Sen. Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetSanders to headline Iowa event amid impeachment trial On The Money — Presented by Wells Fargo — Sanders defends vote against USMCA | China sees weakest growth in 29 years | Warren praises IRS move on student loans Klobuchar on missing campaigning for impeachment: 'I can do two things at once' 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."