Clyburn walks back comments about impeachment

Clyburn walks back comments about impeachment
© Stefani Reynolds

House Majority Whip Jim ClyburnJames (Jim) Enos ClyburnReparations bill gains traction in the House Hispanic Caucus seeks to retain voice in House leadership Democrats target Florida Hispanics in 2020 MORE (D-S.C.) on Monday walked back comments he made the previous day suggesting he believes Democrats will eventually impeach President TrumpDonald John TrumpPompeo changes staff for Russia meeting after concerns raised about top negotiator's ties: report House unravels with rise of 'Les Enfants Terrible' Ben Carson: Trump is not a racist and his comments were not racist MORE, according to Politico.

“I’m probably farther away from impeachment than anybody in our caucus,” Clyburn, the number-three Democrat in the House, told reporters Monday night. “We will not get out in front of our committees. We’ll see what the committees come up with. I’ve said that forever.”

Clyburn met with House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiHouse unravels with rise of 'Les Enfants Terrible' Will Trump's racist tweets backfire? Al Green: 'We have the opportunity to punish' Trump with impeachment vote MORE (D-Calif.) and other party leadership earlier Monday, with Pelosi affirming her opposition to impeachment. Pelosi has consistently called to let the Democratic House’s various investigations into Trump’s White House and businesses play out.

Asked Monday if he believed impeachment was inevitable, Clyburn said he did not, according to Politico.

The remarks contrasted comments the the third-ranking House Democrat made while speaking with CNN's Jake Tapper on Sunday. Clyburn said during an interview that he believed the Trump would be impeached "at some point" but that Democrats needed to build an effective case first. 

Asked by Tapper if thought Democrats would launch impeachment proceedings against Trump, Clyburn responded, "Yes, that's exactly what I feel."

"What [Speaker] Nancy Pelosi [D-Calif.] 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 added.

Other members of leadership distanced themselves from Clyburn’s initial remarks, some of the strongest in the direction of impeachment so far from a House leader.

“Jim Clyburn is a well-respected member of Congress, someone whose shoulders that we all stand on, and I’ll let him speak for himself,” said Rep. Hakeem JeffriesHakeem Sekou JeffriesJeffries defends Democratic Caucus tweet slamming Ocasio-Cortez chief of staff House Democrat pushes for censuring Trump in closed-door meeting Ocasio-Cortez top aide emerges as lightning rod amid Democratic feud MORE (D-N.Y.), chairman of the House Democratic Caucus. “My position has not changed, which is we’re going to continue to proceed aggressively and methodically.”

House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerThe Hill's Morning Report - A raucous debate on race ends with Trump admonishment White House, Congress inch toward debt, budget deal House to test Trump's veto pen on Saudi arms sales MORE (D-Md.) simply said “We’re not getting into that” when asked Monday night if the House intended to eventually take up impeachment proceedings, according to Politico.

Rep. Katherine ClarkKatherine Marlea ClarkDemocratic leaders seek balance amid liberal push to go big on immigration Katherine Clark quietly eyes leadership ascent Epstein charges put Trump Labor secretary back in spotlight MORE (D-Mass.), vice chairwoman of the Democratic Conference, said party leadership and the more vocally pro-impeachment rank and file members of the party had similar agendas.

“I think we have one clear shared goal, and that is to get this president out of office as soon as possible,” she said, according to the publication. “I certainly understand people’s thoughts about this, but I think it’s important to remember impeachment is a tool, not an end goal itself.”

More than 50 House Democrats have come out in favor of impeachment thus far, as well as several presidential candidates, including Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenHarris tops Biden in California 2020 poll The Hill's Morning Report - A raucous debate on race ends with Trump admonishment Democrats fret over Trump cash machine MORE (D-Mass.), Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerThe Hill's Morning Report - A raucous debate on race ends with Trump admonishment Lawmakers pay tribute to late Justice Stevens Schumer throws support behind bill to study reparations MORE (D-N.J.), Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisHarris tops Biden in California 2020 poll The Hill's Morning Report - A raucous debate on race ends with Trump admonishment Democrats fret over Trump cash machine MORE (D-Calif.) and Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump digs in ahead of House vote to condemn tweet 'Game of Thrones' scores record-breaking 32 Emmy nominations The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by JUUL Labs - House to vote to condemn Trump tweet MORE (D-N.Y.). As recently as this weekend, Pelosi said the party’s focus should be on building an “ironclad” case against Trump.