Steyer ramps up impeachment campaign with staff hires in key districts

Steyer ramps up impeachment campaign with staff hires in key districts
© Greg Nash

Billionaire philanthropist Tom Steyer is expanding his campaign to impeach President TrumpDonald John TrumpThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by AdvaMed - House panel expected to approve impeachment articles Thursday Democrats worried by Jeremy Corbyn's UK rise amid anti-Semitism Warren, Buttigieg duke it out in sprint to 2020 MORE.

The liberal former hedge fund manager will deploy paid staffers to two districts represented by House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard NealRichard Edmund NealExpiring tax breaks set off year-end scramble Ways and Means Committee announces rival surprise medical billing fix House panel votes to temporarily repeal SALT deduction cap MORE (D-Mass.) and Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) as early as next week, according to a person familiar with the plans.

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In all, Steyer’s Need to Impeach campaign is targeting five districts represented by key House committee chairpeople, including Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffDemocrats seek leverage for trial Pence's office denies Schiff request to declassify call with Ukrainian leader Comey, Schiff to be interviewed by Fox's Chris Wallace MORE (D-Calif.), Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsCongressional investigation finds Coast Guard leadership fell short on handling bullying Trump request for Ukrainian 'favor' tops notable quote list Impeachment can't wait MORE (D-Md.) and Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine WatersMaxine Moore WatersCalifornia GOP candidate arrested on stalking charges Maxine Waters earns viral praise for steadfast calls for impeachment as articles announced Democrats could introduce articles of impeachment next week MORE (D-Calif.).

The plan, deemed “Operation Accountability,” is part of a $40 million investment in the impeachment effort Steyer announced earlier this month. Steyer is expected to roll out the effort on Tuesday during a news conference in Washington.

In addition to the staffing moves, Need to Impeach is also slated to release a slew of digital ads in each district urging people to sign onto the group’s petition calling for Trump’s removal from office and putting pressure on lawmakers to take up impeachment proceedings.

Steyer, a wealthy former hedge fund manager turned activist, launched Need to Impeach last year, alleging that Trump’s conduct warranted his removal from office. The group’s petition has so far garnered more than 7 million signatures.

Steyer was once considered a possible contender for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020. He announced earlier this month that he would not launch a campaign for the White House and would instead redouble his efforts to impeach Trump.

"I said all last year that I was going to try and do whatever I consider the most differentially positive thing I could do. I think Mr. Trump is the biggest threat to our country in a generation," Steyer said in an interview with The Hill last week.

"I really just want to do the right thing," he added. "I want to finish the job."

But those efforts have so far floundered in Washington, where congressional leaders have been loath to raise the prospect of impeachment out of concerns that doing so could isolate more moderate voters and energize Trump’s conservative base.

Kevin Mack, the lead strategist for Need to Impeach, said that with Democrats now in control of the House, Need to Impeach and its backers have more room to lobby Democratic lawmakers directly.  

“We’ve been asking them to step up and do the right thing for a year,” Mack said. “Now, they have the Speaker’s gavel, they have the majority to do it.”

Steyer’s planned announcement on Tuesday comes days after Roger StoneRoger Jason StoneDOJ backs ex-Trump campaign aide Richard Gates's probation request Schiff says investigators seeking to identify who Giuliani spoke to on unlisted '-1' number What if impeachment fails? MORE, an informal adviser to Trump, was arrested at his home in Florida and charged with obstruction of justice, making false statements and witness tampering in special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerTrump says he'll release financial records before election, knocks Dems' efforts House impeachment hearings: The witch hunt continues Speier says impeachment inquiry shows 'very strong case of bribery' by Trump MORE’s probe into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Stone is set to appear in court on Tuesday in Washington for his arraignment. He is expected to plead not guilty.