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Democrat Strategists Double Down on Impeachment Despite No Collusion, Obstruction Charges

A billboard in Times Square, funded by Tom Steyer, calls for the impeachment of President Donald Trump on 20 November 2017 in New York City. ( Spencer Platt/Getty Images )
Spencer Platt/Getty Images
KRISTINA WONG

Some Democrat strategists are doubling down on calls to impeach President Trump as Democrats plan their next steps after Special Counsel Robert Mueller declined to recommend any charges on collusion or obstruction.

Peter Daou, a former adviser to Hillary Clinton and John Kerry, called for impeachment in a series of tweets over the weekend and on Monday. “Being able to say he was #impeached is the ONLY beacon of hope that our system isn’t completely broken,” he tweeted.

Jon Cooper, chairman of the Democratic Coalition, tweeted that impeachment hearings would help Democrats win the White House in 2020 since regular people would not read the Mueller report”

Former senior aide to Clinton and President Barack Obama Jennifer Palmieri is also calling for impeachment. She tweeted, “For sure,” in response to whether Democrats are making the “impeachment question” complicated:

Palmieri also told the New York Times on Monday that Democrats had “learned the wrong lesson” from Republicans’ push to impeach President Bill Clinton backfiring in the 1998 midterm election.

“They look to the past, but you’ve got to look to the moment you’re in. And look at the moment we’re in,” she said. “It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you stop pursuing what Mueller is putting in front of them, of course voters aren’t going to think it’s important. Voters respond to leadership.”

So far, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) is  the only 2020 candidate to call for Trump’s impeachment. Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA), another 2020 candidate, said Sunday that the question should be postponed until after Mueller testifies in front of Congress.

Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne Jr. noted in a piece on Monday that the Democrat Party is divided into camps: “On the one side, the cautious; on the other side, the aggressive. The prudent ones say members of the hit-for-the-fences crowd don’t understand the political constraints. The pugnacious ones say their circumspect colleagues are timid sellouts.”

Dionne said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) would reiterate her “one step at a time” strategy during a conference call with the Democrat caucus on Monday — not to rush into impeachment or rule it out. The success of her approach would rely on House Democrats who are planning to investigate Trump and make Mueller’s report as damaging to the president as possible.

“While our views range from proceeding to investigate the findings of the Mueller report or proceeding directly to impeachment, we all firmly agree that we should proceed down a path of finding the truth,” she wrote in a letter to Democrats, according to The Hill.

Brian Fallon, another Democrat strategist and former Clinton adviser, told the Washington Post on Sunday that the “marching orders” are to conduct a follow-through investigation in multiple House committees in an attempt to hurt Trump.

“Conduct a follow-through investigation out of the committees that is really just an attempt to enter into the record that which most of the public will never read in the Mueller report,” he told the Post. “Turn it into something that gets played out on a very public stage.”

Their models are the Watergate hearings into President Richard M. Nixon and the Republican hearings on the 2012 Benghazi attack, according to the report.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) told WNYC that they plan to hear testimony from Attorney General William Barr on May 2, and from Mueller sometime before May 23. He has also subpoenaed Mueller’s unredacted report.

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) predicted Democrats would continue focusing on “stopping the President.”

Meanwhile, Trump expressed confidence on Monday that any Democrat effort to impeach him would fail.

“Only high crimes and misdemeanors can lead to impeachment. There were no crimes by me (No Collusion, No Obstruction), so you can’t impeach,” he tweeted. “It was the Democrats that committed the crimes, not your Republican President! Tables are finally turning on the Witch Hunt!”

At the 2019 White House Easter Egg Roll, he was asked whether he was worried about it.

“Not even a little bit,” he responded.

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