Nancy Pelosi is ready for this fight

Nancy Pelosi is ready for this fight
© Greg Nash

Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOvernight Defense: GAO finds administration broke law by withholding Ukraine aid | Senate opens Trump trial | Pentagon to resume training Saudi students soon Hillicon Valley: FBI to now notify state officials of cyber breaches | Pelosi rips 'shameful' Facebook | 5G group beefs up lobby team | Spotify unveils playlists for pets Hill.TV's Saagar Enjeti on impeachment: 'CNN can see through this nonsense' MORE (D-Calif.), Speaker of The United States House of Representatives, was made for this moment. With a congressional career spanning 32 years, Speaker Pelosi is poised to lead her caucus through uncertain impeachment waters during the coming months.

This past week, I joined former U.S. Rep. Jack KingstonJohon (Jack) Heddens KingstonEx-Trump campaign adviser: Biden would be able to 'sit down and get some things done' with Republicans The Hill's Top Lobbyists 2019 Hundreds apply to fill Isakson's Senate seat in Georgia MORE (R-Ga.) for Bloomberg’s Sound On hosted by Kevin Cirilli and reacted, in real time, to the breaking news of Speaker Pelosi’s press conference announcing impeachment proceedings in the House. During the conversation, we often returned to the similarities and differences related to the Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonDemocratic group plans mobile billboard targeting Collins on impeachment Political science has its limits when it comes to presidential prediction Walsh plans protest at RNC headquarters over 'nakedly anti-Democratic' primary cancellations MORE impeachment saga in the late 90’s. Kingston was a member of the House during that time and was a leading conservative voice advocating for the impeachment and removal of President Clinton.

Today, just 56 of Kingston’s former colleagues during the Clinton impeachment proceedings remain in Congress — 42 Democrats and 14 Republicans. The three top Democrats, Speaker Pelosi (first elected in 1987) and Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerHouse poised to hand impeachment articles to Senate House to vote on Iran war powers bills sought by progressives Khanna: Timing of Iran bill being weighed against getting bigger majority MORE (D-Md.) and Majority Whip Jim ClyburnJames (Jim) Enos ClyburnTop Democrat: 'Obstruction of justice' is 'too clear not to include' in impeachment probe GOP senator blasts Dem bills on 'opportunity zones' Harris: Suggestion that older African Americans are homophobic 'just nonsense' MORE (D-S.C.) are among those 42 Democrats. So are the current chairs of five key Congressional committees involved in the current impeachment crisis: Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot EngelEliot Lance EngelPompeo under pressure over threats to Yovanovitch Engel demands State Department documents regarding 'threats' to Yovanovitch security after release of Parnas documents Overnight Defense: Trump says it 'doesn't really matter' if Soleimani was plotting imminent attack | Pompeo won't testify before House panel on Iran | Investigation finds Pensacola base shooting was terrorism MORE (D-N.Y.); Ways and Means Chairman Richard NealRichard Edmund NealTreasury watchdog to investigate Trump opportunity zone program House poised to hand impeachment articles to Senate House to vote Wednesday on sending articles of impeachment to Senate MORE (D-Mass.); Financial Services Chairwoman Maxine WatersMaxine Moore WatersGearing up for a chaotic year on K Street Maxine Waters: Republicans 'shielding' Trump 'going to be responsible for dragging us to war' Green says House shouldn't hold impeachment articles indefinitely MORE (D-Calif.); Judiciary Chairman Jerry NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerMcConnell locks in schedule for start of impeachment trial Pelosi: Trump's impeachment 'cannot be erased' House to vote Wednesday on sending articles of impeachment to Senate MORE (D-N.Y.); and Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsGOP leaders encourage retiring lawmakers to give up committee posts Pelosi taps Virginia Democrat for key post on economic panel Democratic challenger on Van Drew's party switch: 'He betrayed our community' MORE (D-Md.). The sixth key House Committee, Intelligence, is headed by Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffOvernight Defense: GAO finds administration broke law by withholding Ukraine aid | Senate opens Trump trial | Pentagon to resume training Saudi students soon Schiff schedules public hearing with US intel chief  Harris calls for Parnas to testify at Senate trial MORE (D-Calif.) who took office in 2001.


No current member of the House GOP leadership served during the Clinton administration.

Only Rep. Kevin BradyKevin Patrick BradyTrump economic aide says new tax proposal could be unveiled this summer Hoyer: Democratic chairmen trying to bridge divide on surprise medical bills On The Money: House approves Trump USMCA deal in bipartisan vote | Senate sends .4T spending bill to Trump's desk | Why budget watchdogs are howling over the spending deal MORE (R-Texas), who was in office in the 90’s, serves as a Ranking Member of the House Ways and Means Committee — one of the six key committees identified in Pelosi’s press conference.

What all of this means is that Democrats have a strong advantage when it comes to impeachment experience, having so many more members, especially in leadership, who were around for the last impeachment effort.

This experience from the 90’s could be one of the critical reasons Speaker Pelosi was more hesitant to move forward with a formal impeachment proceeding than many of her Democratic colleagues. Pelosi had seen firsthand what happened to Republicans at the ballot box during the 1998 midterms, when the Democrats picked up five seats in the House. Then-House Speaker Newt GingrichNewton (Newt) Leroy GingrichMORE had assured his members that the GOP caucus was likely to pick up 30 seats in the midterms. Gingrich’s miscalculation on public sentiment led to his eventual ouster from leadership and resignation from the House following the electoral drubbing.

Indeed, as Chris Smith notes in Vanity Fair, Pelosi “had thrown cold water on calls for impeachment for more than two years… based on… a belief that her party’s nominee has a good shot at beating Trump in 2020, and the need to protect congressional Democrats who are vulnerable to defeat in swing districts.”


In a brand new Business Insider poll released Thursday morning, 45 percent of respondents supported impeachment, with 29 percent indicating that they strongly supported it; 30 percent of respondents opposed impeachment, with an additional 25 percent unsure or unaware of what impeachment is. According to the report, “the poll was conducted Wednesday and Thursday, after Pelosi’s announcement but as the news was still developing.”

If the Business Insider poll is an accurate snapshot following the transcript’s release, that would demonstrate an eight percent increase in public support from a Quinnipiac University poll released earlier this week that indicated public support for impeachment at 37 percent.

Any hopes held by the president or Trump administration officials that the release of the abbreviated call transcript would quell talk of impeachment have been dashed. According to CNN, “top Democrats have concluded it showed clear evidence of [Trump] pressuring a foreign leader for political advantage.”

Despite the Mueller Probe’s numerous citations involving potential obstruction of justice violations committed by Trump, the lengthy report was cumbersome and confusing to many Americans. New charges involving this whistleblower report and the transcript, according to Pelosi, “is the most understandable by the public.”

In the same interview with The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg this past week, the speaker went on to say, “public sentiment is everything,” and quoted Abraham Lincoln as saying, “with it, you can accomplish practically anything. Without it, practically nothing.”

As one of the few Members of Congress in office during the Clinton impeachment, Pelosi and her chief lieutenants know all too well just how important public sentiment is for rallying members and the general public to their cause. I wouldn’t bet against her or them as this process plays out.

Kevin Walling (@kpwalling) is a Democratic strategist, Vice President at HGCreative, co-founder of Celtic Strategies, and a regular guest on Fox News and Fox Business.