Clyburn walks back comments about impeachment

Clyburn walks back comments about impeachment
© Stefani Reynolds

House Majority Whip Jim ClyburnJames (Jim) Enos ClyburnTop Democrat: 'Obstruction of justice' is 'too clear not to include' in impeachment probe GOP senator blasts Dem bills on 'opportunity zones' Harris: Suggestion that older African Americans are homophobic 'just nonsense' MORE (D-S.C.) on Monday walked back comments he made the previous day suggesting he believes Democrats will eventually impeach 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, 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 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 (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.

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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.

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“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 JeffriesSunday shows preview: Lawmakers gear up for Senate impeachment trial The Hill's Morning Report - Dems to lay out impeachment case to senators next week Seven things to know about the Trump trial 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 HoyerHouse poised to hand impeachment articles to Senate House to vote on Iran war powers bills sought by progressives Khanna: Timing of Iran bill being weighed against getting bigger majority 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 ClarkDemocrats ramp up calls for war powers vote after Iran strike Nearly all Democrats expected to back articles of impeachment The Hill's Morning Report - Fallout from day one of Trump impeachment hearing 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 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.), 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.), 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.) 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.). As recently as this weekend, Pelosi said the party’s focus should be on building an “ironclad” case against Trump.