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. GreenWhy fear should not blind us to the promise of AI: A healthy dose of optimism Trump at rally says impeachment an 'attack on democracy itself' Democrats raise stakes with impeachment vote MORE's (D-Texas) decision to force a floor vote on impeaching President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump faces high stakes in meeting with Erdoğan amid impeachment drama Democrats worry they don't have right candidate to beat Trump Trump threatening to fire Mulvaney: report 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 AmashTrump allies assail impeachment on process while House Democrats promise open hearings soon Hoyer: We are going to move as fast 'as the facts and truth dictate' on open hearings Conway spars with Wallace on whether White House will cooperate with impeachment inquiry after formal vote 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 MuellerSpeier says impeachment inquiry shows 'very strong case of bribery' by Trump Gowdy: I '100 percent' still believe public congressional hearings are 'a circus' Comey: Mueller 'didn't succeed in his mission because there was inadequate transparency' 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 YarmuthKentucky Democrat: McConnell's agenda driven by 'power without a purpose' Top Democrat: Getting Trump off the ballot wouldn't benefit party Kentucky Democrat: 'There's a shot' McConnell could be vulnerable in 2020 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-CortezOcasio-Cortez calls for Stephen Miller to resign over leaked emails Ocasio-Cortez meets Sasha Velour following DC performance Sanders 'very concerned about what appears to be a coup' in Bolivia MORE (N.Y.), Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyJustice Democrats official denies that progressives struggle with electability The Hill's Campaign Report: Bloomberg looks to upend Democratic race Progressive freshmen jump into leadership PAC fundraising MORE (Mass.), Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarSanders 'very concerned about what appears to be a coup' in Bolivia Overnight Defense: Protests at Trump's NYC Veterans Day speech | House Dems release Pentagon official's deposition transcript | Lawmakers ask Trump to rescind Erdogan invite Ilhan Omar blasts Pete King as an 'Islamophobe' after he announces retirement: 'Good riddance' MORE (Minn.) and Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibSanders: Fighting anti-Semitism 'is very personal' Bloomberg run should push Warren to the center — but won't Justice Democrats official denies that progressives struggle with electability 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 HoyerCongress hunts for path out of spending stalemate The Hill's 12:30 Report: Washington braces for public impeachment hearings This week: House kicks off public phase of impeachment inquiry 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 ThompsonSenators urge Trump to fill vacancies at DHS Hillicon Valley: TikTok faces lawmaker anger over China ties | FCC formally approves T-Mobile-Sprint merger | Silicon Valley lawmakers introduce tough privacy bill | AT&T in M settlement with FTC Cyber officials tout reforms with one year to Election Day MORE (D-Miss.), who added he would again vote in favor of Green's resolution.

Rep. Brad ShermanBradley (Brad) James ShermanOvernight Defense: Protests at Trump's NYC Veterans Day speech | House Dems release Pentagon official's deposition transcript | Lawmakers ask Trump to rescind Erdogan invite Bipartisan House members call on Trump to rescind Erdoğan invitation Live coverage: Zuckerberg testifies before House on Facebook's Libra project 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.