Dems flock to Pelosi on Trump impeachment

House Democrats are largely flocking to the side of Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiTimeline: The Trump whistleblower complaint DC statehood push faces long odds despite record support Ukraine could badly damage both Donald Trump and the Democrats MORE as the California Democrat seeks to tamp down any talk of impeaching President TrumpDonald John TrumpAlaska Republican Party cancels 2020 primary Ukrainian official denies Trump pressured president Trump goes after New York Times, Washington Post: 'They have gone totally CRAZY!!!!' MORE.

Pelosi's latest remarks on impeachment, reported Monday by The Washington Post, have upset some liberal activists — and amplified the media’s focus on the topic — amid a series of controversies dogging Trump and his administration.

But all the attention has done virtually nothing to grow the underlying impeachment effort on Capitol Hill, as even some of the loudest impeachment voices rallied behind Pelosi’s strategy of insisting on bipartisan support before taking such a drastic step.

ADVERTISEMENT

“I think that we won't actually remove this president until Sean Hannity calls for us to remove this president or until Laura Ingraham [does] — until we drive home our message, change public opinion,” said Rep. Brad ShermanBradley (Brad) James ShermanHouse Democrats blur lines on support for impeachment Hillicon Valley: Trump seeks review of Pentagon cloud-computing contract | FTC weighs updating kids' internet privacy rules | Schumer calls for FaceApp probe | Report says states need more money to secure elections Here are the 95 Democrats who voted to support impeachment MORE (D-Calif.), who reintroduced his articles of impeachment against Trump on the first day of the new Congress in January. “We need that level of popular support.”

Sherman stressed that he believes “this president has not only committed felonies, but is harmful to the country,” but he acknowledged “just because I think he should be removed doesn't mean that Senate Republicans agree.”

Pelosi’s recent interview with the Post was conducted last week amid bitter Democratic infighting over controversial comments from Rep. Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarGOP Senate candidate said Republicans have 'dual loyalties' to Israel Hillicon Valley: Zuckerberg to meet with lawmakers | Big tech defends efforts against online extremism | Trump attends secretive Silicon Valley fundraiser | Omar urges Twitter to take action against Trump tweet Omar asks Twitter what it's doing in response to Trump spreading 'lies that put my life at risk' MORE (D-Minn.) about Israel. In it, Pelosi reiterated her long-standing position that impeachment should have bipartisan support, both in Congress and outside of it. She added one new beat to her argument: Trump, she said, is simply “not worth” the trouble. 

“I’m not for impeachment. This is news. I’m going to give you some news right now because I haven’t said this to any press person before. But since you asked, and I’ve been thinking about this: Impeachment is so divisive to the country that unless there’s something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan, I don’t think we should go down that path, because it divides the country. And he’s just not worth it,” Pelosi said.

By amplifying her position, Pelosi provided cover for moderate Democrats in swing districts, including vulnerable freshmen who recently solidified the party’s House takeover and don’t want to alienate voters who also backed Trump.

“I am one of 31 Democrats that comes from a district that Donald Trump won. I can tell you, we don't go home talking about impeachment every weekend,” Rep. Cheri BustosCheryl (Cheri) Lea BustosHere are the Democrats who aren't co-sponsoring an assault weapons ban GOP struggles with retirement wave DCCC names new head after mass staff departure MORE (D-Ill.), the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairwoman, told CNN’s “New Day” on Tuesday. “And not only that, we don’t hear from people that we represent talking about impeachment at every turn.”

A small group of Democrats did break with Pelosi, saying there's already plenty of evidence to deem Trump unfit for office and the House should move quickly on impeachment.

Rep. Al GreenAlexander (Al) N. GreenTen notable Democrats who do not favor impeachment Methane emissions continue to drop Two coal miners demand McGrath stop using their images in McConnell attack ad MORE (Texas) staged a string of media events on Tuesday to make the case for ousting the president.

Rep. John YarmuthJohn Allen YarmuthMcConnell accepts Democratic rep's challenge to 5 debates House Democrats blur lines on support for impeachment White House won't move forward with billions in foreign aid cuts MORE (Ky.), a de facto member of leadership as Budget Committee chairman, told CNN’s “New Day” that “we are essentially in the beginning of an impeachment process.”

And freshman Rep. Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibMarkey fundraises ahead of Kennedy primary challenge The Hill's Campaign Report: De Blasio drops out | Warren gains support from black voters | Sanders retools campaign team | Warning signs for Tillis in NC Omar says she hopes Netanyahu not reelected MORE (Mich.) said she will still introduce new articles of impeachment before month's end.

“No one, not even the president, should be above the law,” Tlaib said.

Broadly speaking, however, there appears to be even less appetite for impeachment this year, versus the last Congress when almost 20 Democrats had co-sponsored impeachment bills.

Green has not yet introduced his articles of impeachment, as he had in the last Congress, and has given no indication when he’ll do so. Rep. Steve CohenStephen (Steve) Ira CohenThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump eyes narrowly focused response to Iran attacks Lewandowski, Democrats tangle at testy hearing Trump probes threaten to overshadow Democrats' agenda MORE (D-Tenn.), who had also championed an impeachment resolution in the last Congress, has also held his fire this year. Cohen holds the gavel of a key subcommittee on the Judiciary panel and is vowing to push for investigations into the administration — the strategy Pelosi favors. And Sherman’s resolution so far has only one co-sponsor: Green.

Tlaib framed her impeachment resolution — which will focus largely on allegations that Trump has used the White House to promote his businesses and enrich himself — as a first step in the broader investigation of those charges.

“That doesn't mean we're voting on it. It means we're beginning the process to look at some of these alleged claims,” she said.

Asked if she's “disappointed” with Pelosi's position, Tlaib was terse.

“Absolutely not,” she said. “Speaker Pelosi has always encouraged me to represent my district, has never told me to stop, has never told me to do anything differently — ever.”

Green renewed a pledge he first made a month ago to force another House floor vote on impeaching Trump and dared Democratic leaders to try to stop him. He has yet to offer a timeline or introduce the articles of impeachment.

Green previously forced two procedural votes on impeachment, in 2017 and 2018, while Republicans controlled the House. Neither effort succeeded, but they drew the support of 58 Democrats in December 2017 and eight more a month later. 

“If you desire to stop me, you but only have to change the rules so that I can't bring a vote on impeachment. Otherwise I will, because the Constitution and the rules allow any one person to bring a vote on impeachment,” Green said in an interview on C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal.”

Green also dismissed the notion that Democrats should wait until Republicans endorse impeaching Trump.

“If we wait on Republicans who are not going to buy in, then there won't be any impeachment,” Green said at a press conference in his Capitol Hill office.

But key committee chairmen leading investigations into Trump and his associates backed up Pelosi.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffTimeline: The Trump whistleblower complaint Hillicon Valley: Lawmakers say Zuckerberg to 'cooperate' on antitrust probes | Dems see victory after McConnell backs election security funds | Twitter takes down fake pro-Saudi accounts Trump asked Ukraine president to investigate Biden's son eight times in one phone call: reports MORE (D-Calif.) said it’s possible that the investigations conducted by the special counsel or his own panel could produce findings compelling enough to begin impeachment proceedings. But Schiff warned that moving with impeachment without bipartisan consensus would ultimately backfire as a “partisan exercise doomed for failure.”

“The only thing worse than putting the country through the trauma of an impeachment is putting the country through the trauma of a failed impeachment,” Schiff said at a breakfast Tuesday morning hosted by the Christian Science Monitor.

House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsDC statehood push faces long odds despite record support Federal agency to resume processing some deferred-action requests for migrants Overnight Defense: Trump says he has 'many options' on Iran | Hostage negotiator chosen for national security adviser | Senate Dems block funding bill | Documents show Pentagon spent at least 4K at Trump's Scotland resort MORE (D-Md.) similarly said that he thinks Pelosi is “absolutely right.”

“We've got a lot of research that we still need to do,” Cummings said.

Morgan Chalfant contributed.