Reid backs Trump impeachment inquiry

Reid backs Trump impeachment inquiry

Former Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidNevada journalist: Harry Reid will play 'significant role' in Democratic primary The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by AdvaMed - A crucial week on impeachment The Hill's Morning Report — Pelosi makes it official: Trump will be impeached MORE (D-Nev.) said in an interview published Monday that the House should open an impeachment inquiry into President TrumpDonald John TrumpDemocrats ask if they have reason to worry about UK result Trump scramble to rack up accomplishments gives conservatives heartburn Seven years after Sandy Hook, the politics of guns has changed MORE, despite counseling against the move earlier.

"It’s not the right thing to do nothing," Reid told USA Today. "It’s not the right thing to jump into impeachment without doing an inquiry."

Any such inquiry, he said, should primarily focus on giving "the American people a view of what’s going on."

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Reid addressed concerns that the process would allow Trump to claim he had been exonerated since impeachment proceedings would be doomed in the Republican-controlled Senate.

“That has been one of the big arguments against the impeachment,” Reid said. “Why make Trump a hero by saying ‘they couldn’t impeach me?’” However, that risk is “all the more reason why the inquiry is the right thing to do,” he said.

Polling indicates a majority of Americans oppose impeaching Trump, with the most recent poll in the wake of special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerJeffries blasts Trump for attack on Thunberg at impeachment hearing Live coverage: House Judiciary to vote on impeachment after surprise delay Trump says he'll release financial records before election, knocks Dems' efforts MORE's investigation showing 41 percent support. However, Reid said that further investigation could move the needle on the idea. “I think that that’s one reason an inquiry should go forward, to find out how the public reacts to this,” he told USA Today.

Reid said he would reach out on the subject to Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiTrump scramble to rack up accomplishments gives conservatives heartburn Sherrod Brown backs new North American trade deal: 'This will be the first trade agreement I've ever voted for' Overnight Health Care — Presented by That's Medicaid — Turf war derails push on surprise medical bills | Bill would tax e-cigarettes to pay for anti-vaping campaign | .5M ad blitz backs vulnerable Dems on drug prices MORE (D-Calif.), who has consistently opposed impeachment and with whom Reid regularly communicates.

An impeachment inquiry, in which the House would establish a panel to investigate potential “high crimes and misdemeanors” by Trump, would be distinct from impeachment proceedings and would not guarantee them. Reid, who retired in 2017, was a member of the Senate the last time the chamber conducted an impeachment trial after the House voted to impeach then-President Clinton.

Reid’s interview came as Democratic House leadership makes efforts to appear unified on the issue. Majority Whip James Clyburn (S.C.), the No. 3 Democrat in the House, suggested to CNN’s Jake TapperJacob (Jake) Paul TapperCNN Pelosi town hall finishes third in cable news ratings race, draws 1.6M Defense secretary fires Navy chief over SEAL war crimes case Democrats look to next steps in impeachment MORE on Sunday that Trump’s impeachment was inevitable but walked back his comments Monday after a meeting with leadership.

“I’m probably farther away from impeachment than anybody in our caucus,” Clyburn 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.”

At least 55 House lawmakers have publicly voiced support for opening impeachment proceedings.