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Pro-impeachment Democrats wary of Al Green's floor vote push

Pro-impeachment Democrats wary of Al Green's floor vote push
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House Democrats who favor an impeachment inquiry said Tuesday that Rep. Al GreenAlexander (Al) N. GreenBiden pledges support for Texas amid recovery from winter storm Biden turns focus to winter storm with Texas trip LIVE COVERAGE: Senate opens Trump's second impeachment trial MORE's (D-Texas) decision to force a floor vote on impeaching President TrumpDonald TrumpHouse passes voting rights and elections reform bill DEA places agent seen outside Capitol during riot on leave Georgia Gov. Kemp says he'd 'absolutely' back Trump as 2024 nominee MORE in the coming days won't necessarily be helpful to their cause.

A total of 84 House Democrats, as well as independent Rep. Justin AmashJustin AmashRepublicans eye primaries in impeachment vote Michigan GOP lawmaker says he's 'strongly considering' impeachment Newly sworn in Republican House member after Capitol riot: 'I regret not bringing my gun to D.C.' MORE (Mich.), have publicly endorsed impeachment. But House Democratic leaders remain opposed and want to build more public support with their investigations of the Trump administration before possibly moving forward with impeachment proceedings.

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Green announced Monday that he would force a House floor vote on impeachment before lawmakers leave for the August recess. He forced two votes on impeachment in the previous Congress — in December 2017 and January 2018 — when Republicans controlled the House.

Both of those procedural votes failed, but they drew support from about 60 Democrats each time.

A vote in the coming days would mark the first time the House has voted on impeachment since Democrats took over the majority in January. But with most Democrats still opposed to impeachment, a vote would put their divisions on the record.

Democrats who support impeachment said they would likely vote for Green's effort. But they suggested his timing wasn't ideal, given that former special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerWhy a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel CNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump MORE is slated to testify before Congress next week.

"I think it might be cathartic for some members," said House Budget Committee Chairman John YarmuthJohn Allen YarmuthProgressives grumble but won't sink relief bill over fewer stimulus checks House Democrats pass sweeping .9T COVID-19 relief bill with minimum wage hike House set for tight vote on COVID-19 relief package MORE (D-Ky.), who supports impeachment.

But, he acknowledged, "I think the timing's awkward with Mueller coming next week and we have a recess coming. That's probably not the best time to do it."

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House Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) said he would "most likely" vote in favor of Green's resolution, as he did in the previous Congress.

But McGovern voiced concern about a lack of unity in the caucus on impeachment.

"I think it's important to have consensus before we have a debate and a vote on that," McGovern said.

Green said Tuesday that his impeachment measure would be similar to his previous articles of impeachment that accused Trump of inflaming racial tensions in America.

Green said he's forcing the vote in the aftermath of Trump's tweets targeting four progressive minority freshman lawmakers — Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezBipartisan bill would ban lawmakers from buying, selling stocks The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - J&J vax rollout today; third woman accuses Cuomo 'Lucky': Inside Ocasio-Cortez's endorsement of Sanders MORE (N.Y.), Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyPressley says image of Black custodial staff cleaning up Capitol after Jan. 6 riot 'haunts' her DeJoy apologizes for mail delays while defending Postal Service changes DeJoy set for grilling by House Oversight panel MORE (Mass.), Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarHouse approves George Floyd Justice in Policing Act House Democrats' ambitious agenda set to run into Senate blockade Omar introduces bill to sanction Saudi crown prince over Khashoggi killing MORE (Minn.) and Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibProgressives push White House to overturn wage ruling Six ways to visualize a divided America Jamaal Bowman's mother dies of COVID-19: 'I share her legacy with all of you' MORE (Mich.) — in which the president said they should "go back" to their countries, even though all are U.S. citizens.

The House is set to vote Tuesday on a resolution to formally condemn Trump's comments as racist.

Green argued that the House should go beyond Tuesday's resolution.

"We can do this, condemn the comments that have been made, and we can do this, impeach for the harm that the comments are causing to our society. Both of these things can be done," Green said in a floor speech.

 
"We'll figure out how to deal with it at that point in time. But we haven't had a discussion about that," Hoyer told reporters in the Capitol.
 
Hoyer said he has not spoken with Green about the threatened vote, but suggested that leadership won't try to put up any road blocks if the Texas Democrat follows through.
 
"I think he feels strongly about it, and if he deems it appropriate to offer it, he'll offer it," Hoyer said. "I'm not going to try to discourage him. He has to do what he thinks is right."
 
Still, Hoyer emphasized that leadership considers the push for impeachment to be premature, preferring to continue their aggressive investigations into the administration — including next week's much anticipated public testimony from Mueller.
 
Some Democrats who are in favor of impeachment said they're unconcerned with Green's efforts.

"I'm fine with it. I'm not going to overthink it," said House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie ThompsonBennie Gordon ThompsonLawmakers line up behind potential cyber breach notification legislation NAACP president accuses Trump of having operated under 'white supremacist doctrine' Lawmakers blame SolarWinds hack on 'collective failure' to prioritize cybersecurity MORE (D-Miss.), who added he would again vote in favor of Green's resolution.

Rep. Brad ShermanBradley (Brad) James ShermanBipartisan resolution supports Iranian public amid Biden push to reenter nuclear deal Tributes pour in for Kobe Bryant on one-year anniversary of death Bottom line MORE (D-Calif.), who reintroduced an article of impeachment against Trump on the first day of the new Congress in January, said he would vote in favor of Green's effort. But he acknowledged that Democrats still have a ways to go in gaining widespread public support and convincing GOP lawmakers to get on board. 

A recent Gallup poll found that 53 percent of voters oppose impeachment, compared with 45 percent who are in favor. While a majority remain opposed, the percentage that does favor impeaching Trump is higher than the number who supported impeaching former President Clinton or former President Nixon at the start of the Watergate scandal.

"There are a lot of things to do to expose the president and to change public opinion. This could be part of it, but a lot more to do," Sherman said.

"What I'm waiting for is to see some Republican senator who takes their oath of office seriously enough to say that they would at least listen with an open mind should we bring [impeachment]. And in order to get there, we have to change public opinion," Sherman said.

Mike Lillis contributed.