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Centrist Democrats urge caution over impeachment inquiry

A number of moderate Democrats are reacting with caution to the formal impeachment inquiry launched Tuesday against President TrumpDonald TrumpBiden to move ahead with billion UAE weapons sale approved by Trump Fox News hires high-profile defense team in Dominion defamation lawsuit Associate indicted in Gaetz scandal cooperating with DOJ: report MORE.

Several centrists have declined to back the push, expressing worries it could further divide the country or even backfire on Democrats heading into the 2020 elections.

"I don't believe it's good for the country. I don't think it's good for us as it relates to our international affairs and makes us look weaker," said freshman Rep. Jeff Van DrewJeff Van DrewSunday shows preview: Biden administration grapples with border surge; US mourns Atlanta shooting victims Pro-union bill passes House, setting up lobbying battle in Senate Van Drew, after flipping parties, bashes bills he once backed MORE (D-N.J.), who represents a district Trump won by 4.6 points in 2016.

"I don't think it's good that the cost is involved with all this. So there are really and truly a lot of negatives. It also splits the country apart," said Drew, adding he believes there are a number of factors the party should take into consideration before moving forward.

"We have a year to win an election, so unless we find something else, as we look at this process, you know, unless there's going to be something else that's truly impeachable, I think that we should finally stop, have the election and move forward.”

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After months of resisting calls for impeachment, House Democratic leaders on Thursday threw their support behind a formal impeachment inquiry, citing allegations that Trump threatened to withhold military aid to Ukraine if the country didn’t investigate former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenIRS to roll out payments for ,000 child tax credit in July Capitol Police told not to use most aggressive tactics in riot response, report finds Biden to accompany first lady to appointment for 'common medical procedure' MORE and the Democratic presidential candidate's son, Hunter.

While several Democrats running in swing districts have backed such a move, others are expressing concerns that the party may be acting prematurely, with multiple lawmakers saying they want to see a transcript of Trump's call with Ukraine's president in late July as well as a whistleblower complaint filed by a member of the U.S. intelligence community before committing to a decision.

“I mean, listen, if you look at the polls, where is the American public? Is there an overwhelming support to impeach? It's not there yet,” Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) told reporters. “It's still not yet there. But again, let the process work."

"I think there are some members that I, you know, I hope they take the right position and vote at the appropriate time on that, because for some of my members, I am a little apprehensive."

Rep. Kurt SchraderWalter (Kurt) Kurt SchraderBlue Dogs push House leadership to allow more member input Democratic majority shrinks, but finds unity Biden on precipice of first big win MORE (D-Ore.) said he is still weighing his decision on impeachment, telling Slate it’s “terribly risky” for members in purple districts at a time when the party is seeking to maintain control of the House in 2020.

And Rep. Max RoseMax RoseOvernight Defense: Austin takes helm at Pentagon | COVID-19 briefing part of Day 1 agenda | Outrage over images of National Guard troops in parking garage Austin sworn in as nation's first Black Pentagon chief We lost in November — we're proud we didn't take corporate PAC money MORE (D-N.Y.), who represents a district that traditionally leans red and has previously pushed back on impeachment calls, called for the Trump administration to "release all documents related to the whistleblower case."

“This is a serious crisis, all options must be on the table, and it's time Republicans are as interested in the truth as the American people," he said in a statement.

Rep. Ben McAdams (D-Utah), who managed to unseat a Republican in a deeply red district, said while he also has concerns over the whistleblower complaint he wants to see the actual report before he backs impeachment.

“I think we should reserve judgment until we see the whistleblower report at this point,” he told The Hill.

Several centrists have voiced support for a potential impeachment inquiry in recent days, even as others waited for more information to be released before making a firm commitment.

Rep. Dean PhillipsDean PhillipsDemocrat Rita Hart withdraws challenge in Iowa House race Pelosi downplays concerns from moderates about reviewing contested Iowa race Moderate Democrats warn leaders against meddling in Iowa race MORE (Minn.) on Monday became one of the first Democrats representing a swing district to endorse impeachment in the wake of reports that Trump urged Ukraine's president to investigate Biden, but said his support for impeachment was contingent on whether reports were true.

Rep. Angie Craig (Minn.), another Democrat representing a district Trump carried in 2016, also endorsed impeachment proceedings on Monday after the president acknowledged that he discussed Biden with the Ukrainian president.

"It is clear that the sitting president of the United States placed his own personal interests above the national security of the United States. We must safeguard our electoral process and our very democracy from outside threats. For this reason, the current investigations into corruption must continue," she said in a statement.

Rep. Abigail SpanbergerAbigail Davis SpanbergerOn The Money: Inflation rears its head amid spending debate | IRS chief warns of unpaid taxes hitting T | Restaurants fret labor shortage On The Money: Biden seeks GOP support for infrastructure plan | Democrats debate tax hikes on wealthy | Biden, Congress target semiconductor shortage Gun control advocates applaud Biden funding plan but say more must be done MORE (Va.) and six other freshman Democrats largely representing competitive districts also wrote in a Washington Post op-ed that if the allegations that Trump pressed Ukraine's leader to investigate Biden "are true, we believe these actions represent an impeachable offense."

Cuellar said that while impeachment may not be currently polling well, he believes Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPelosi says she would have put up a fight against Capitol mob: 'I'm a street fighter' Biden to address Congress on April 28 NY House Democrats demand repeal of SALT cap MORE (D-Calif.) is handling it in a way that could build public support.

“I don't see an overwhelming support for impeachment, but at the same time, there are certain steps that we have to take,” he said. 

Despite hesitations from some in the caucus, top Democrats have expressed confidence they will have the support needed to impeach the president if the time comes.

“When it comes to the floor, there will be significantly more than 218 votes,” one senior Democratic source told The Hill, referring to the number of votes needed to pass the House.

At least 186 House Democrats have backed launching an impeachment inquiry – representing more than three-quarters of the caucus – with a flurry of Democrats coming out in support this week.

For their part, Republicans are looking to capitalize on any vulnerable Democrats shifting on impeachment, with the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) attempting to paint the party as focused on impeachment over legislating.

"For the past three years, the socialist Democrats have been obsessed with impeaching the president and backfilling in the reason after the fact. They have become so radicalized by their hatred of President Trump that they are willing to plunge the nation into a constitutional crisis based on secondhand gossip,” NRCC Chairman Tom EmmerThomas (Tom) Earl EmmerTrump digs in on attacks against Republican leaders GOP campaign chief confident his party will win back House Letlow wins Louisiana special House election to replace late husband MORE (R-Minn.) said in a statement.

“Democrats have lost their sanity and any remaining credibility with the American people. Make no mistake about it: backing impeachment will cost the Democrats their majority in 2020."