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. GreenMeat is taxing the planet, so we should tax meat Danish prime minister: Trump's idea to buy Greenland 'absurd'  Juan Williams: Democrats finally hit Trump where it hurts MORE's (D-Texas) decision to force a floor vote on impeaching President TrumpDonald John TrumpDavid Axelrod after Ginsburg cancer treatment: Supreme Court vacancy could 'tear this country apart' EU says it will 'respond in kind' if US slaps tariffs on France Ginsburg again leaves Supreme Court with an uncertain future 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 AmashLawmakers blast Trump as Israel bars door to Tlaib and Omar House Democrats targeting six more Trump districts for 2020 Sanford headed to New Hampshire amid talk of challenge to Trump 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) Swan MuellerMueller report fades from political conversation Trump calls for probe of Obama book deal Democrats express private disappointment with Mueller testimony 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 YarmuthWhite House won't move forward with billions in foreign aid cuts Trump says he'll decide on foreign aid cuts within a week Trump signs two-year budget deal 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-CortezTlaib says Trump 'scared' of 'Squad' The Memo: Dangers loom for Trump on immigration Students retreating from politics as campuses become progressive playgrounds MORE (N.Y.), Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyFormer GOP Rep. Jason Lewis says he'll challenge Tina Smith in Minnesota Poll: Voters split on whether it's acceptable for Israel to deny Omar, Tlaib visas NJ college censures trustee over posts targeting 'the squad' MORE (Mass.), Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarTrump to return to North Carolina to stump for special election candidate Former GOP Rep. Jason Lewis says he'll challenge Tina Smith in Minnesota Israel should resist Trump's efforts to politicize support MORE (Minn.) and Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibMichigan city declines to renew contract with ICE to hold detainees Former GOP Rep. Jason Lewis says he'll challenge Tina Smith in Minnesota Israel should resist Trump's efforts to politicize support 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.

House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerOmar says US should reconsider aid to Israel Liberal Democrat eyes aid cuts to Israel after Omar, Tlaib denied entry Lawmakers blast Trump as Israel bars door to Tlaib and Omar MORE (D-Md.), noting that Green has not yet introduced his articles, said leaders have not plotted a strategy surrounding the threatened vote.
 
"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 ThompsonPelosi asks Democrats for 'leverage' on impeachment DHS cyber agency to prioritize election security, Chinese threats Trump officials unveil rule allowing indefinite migrant family detentions MORE (D-Miss.), who added he would again vote in favor of Green's resolution.

Rep. Brad ShermanBradley (Brad) James ShermanHillicon 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 Maxine Waters says her committee will call in Zuckerberg to testify about Libra 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.