After months of sternly refusing to pursue impeachment proceedings of Donald Trump over fears that this could have dire consequences for democrats at the polls, Nancy Pelosi suddenly finds herself in a bind. The reason: the movement to oust President Trump from office crossed a new threshold Friday, with a majority of House Democrats endorsing an impeachment inquiry — a development that puts the House majority speaker in confrontation with a majority of democrats, and could potentially lead to a fissure between moderate and progressive Democrats.
As of Friday, a majority of one - or 118 out of 235 House Democrats - said they support at least opening an impeachment inquiry, according to an analysis by The Washington Post. Politico, using different criteria, reported that the threshold was crossed Thursday.
As the WaPo notes the push in the House to remove Trump has been accelerated by testimony from former special counsel Robert S. Mueller III confirming that the president could be charged with obstruction of justice after he leaves office — prompting more than 20 Democrats to announce support for an inquiry since then. Those calls, the WaPo adds, have come amid mounting pressure from liberal activists — applied in some cases by Democratic primary challengers who argue that incumbents, including four powerful committee chairmen, have been too reticent in taking on Trump.
California Rep. Salud Carbajal pushed Democrats past the majority threshold with his announcement Friday. “We cannot ignore this president’s actions, and we cannot let him off the hook because of his title,” he said in a written statement.
Among those newly backing an impeachment inquiry are two prominent House committee chairmen from New York, Rep. Eliot L. Engel of the Foreign Affairs Committee and Rep. Nita M. Lowey of the Appropriations Committee. Both face energetic Democratic opponents in next year’s elections.
Of the Democrats calling for an impeachment inquiry, more than 75 have done so since Mueller made a public statement on May 29 about his findings. The former special counsel said he could neither clear nor accuse Trump of obstructing his probe, leaving room for Congress to make that call.
Rep. Justin Amash (I-Mich.), who recently left the Republican Party, has also said he supports beginning impeachment proceedings against Trump.
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Finding herself trapped, while Pelosi continues to stress investigations over impeachment, last week she gave a green light for lawmakers to chart their own course while telling reporters that it would not necessarily change her views.
CNN's in house democratic lackey, Brian Stetler, was quick to frame the question as one of Pelosi now ignoring the opinion of the majority, or "Can House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ignore this number?" adding that "That's the biggest question" and "All eyes on the speaker at this point."
For now, Pelosi is willing to face the majority onslaught. “I’m willing to take whatever heat there is,” she said.
Pelosi refused to answer questions about impeachment during an appearance on Capitol Hill on Thursday.
Ironically, Pelosi appears to be all that is standing between what is now a majority of Democrats and political suicide: her reluctance about impeachment is based in part on public opinion. A Washington Post-ABC News poll released last month showed 59 percent of Americans believe the House should not begin impeachment proceedings against Trump, while 37 percent believe it should — including 61 percent of Democrats.
And when one considers just how titled to Democrats such polls are, it is safe to assume that only a small, but very vocal minority, of constituents actually want a Trump impeachment. Which also explains why the politically inexperience, ultra progressive wing of the Democrats is now willing to pursue a step that could cost Democrats dearly.
Stetler is right about one thing: all eyes are indeed on Pelosi. What she does next could end up handing the 2020 presidential election to Trump on a silver platter.