Top allies of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) reportedly believe she “will never” get the 218 votes in the House to impeach President Donald Trump, which may explain why Pelosi, a master vote counter, is hesitant to even begin an impeachment inquiry.
According to a Wednesday evening CNBC report, “close Pelosi allies insist she couldn’t gain majority support for impeachment even if she tried, not to mention the two-thirds of a Republican-run Senate needed for conviction and removal from office.” A leadership aide simply told CNBC’s John Harwood: “There will never be 218 in the House.”
Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY), who chairs the House Judiciary Committee, reportedly failed in his efforts to convince Pelosi to start an impeachment inquiry after Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s testimony on Wednesday. Nadler has become more pro-impeachment after getting a primary challenger from the left. Lindsey Boylan, his primary opponent, reportedly already raised $265,000 last quarter.
According to CNBC, “Pelosi sought to placate restless members Wednesday afternoon by suggesting the House might yet explore impeachment after two more developments. One is gaining access to Mueller’s grand-jury material through the courts; the other is obtaining public testimony from former White House counsel Don McGahn, a key to potential obstruction charges who has privately testified Trump told him to fire Mueller.”
At least 95 Democrats support moving forward with impeachment, and Pelosi reportedly said that Mueller’s testimony “is the crossing of a threshold in terms of the public awareness of what happened and how it conforms to the law—or not.”
“My position has always been [that] whatever decision we make in that regard would have to be done with our strongest possible hand, and we still have some outstanding matters in the courts,” Pelosi reportedly added. “The stronger our case is, the worse the Senate will look for just letting the president off the hook
But as Harwood notes, Pelosi, even though she reportedly is still “open” to impeachment, is also reluctant to impeach Trump because, in the 1990s, “Pelosi watched a Republican majority stumble through its impeachment of Bill Clinton and then oust Speaker Newt Gingrich. Pelosi’s majority includes 31 members who represent districts Trump carried in 2016 and could face electoral danger.”
“She is open to it. She is open to it,” Jackie Speier said of Pelosi, adding that she believes she sounded more open to impeachment than she has previously, per @SunlenSerfaty
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) July 24, 2019
Impeachment activists have made two counter arguments, one of which Nadler reportedly made on Wednesday.
According to Politico, after Pelosi rebuffed his efforts to start an impeachment inquiry, “Nadler countered Pelosi’s pushback by noting that polls showed limited support for removing President Richard Nixon from office when the House began impeachment hearings in 1973, but that public support for the effort grew as more evidence came out about Nixon’s illegal behavior.”
Second, impeachment activists have argued that though Republicans lost the 1998 midterms leading up to Clinton’s impeachment, they won the next two presidential elections and got back control of the House for eight more years before throwing that majority all away after backing the Iraq War and living high on the hog with their infamous K-Street project and other corrupt shenanigans.
Though a majority of Americans have consistently opposed impeachment, impeachment activists, left-wing Democrats like the “Squad,” and presidential candidates like Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) who have seen their fundraising numbers take off after calling for impeachment believe that public opinion can be moved if Trump’s feet are held to the fire.
I believe it is time to begin an impeachment inquiry against President @realDonaldTrump.
No President, including this one, is above the law.
Read my full statement: pic.twitter.com/cnGcVhPELm
— Congresswoman Lori Trahan (@RepLoriTrahan) July 24, 2019
Some impeachment advocates, like CNN legal analyst Susan Hennessey, still did not lose hope even after Mueller’s testimony convinced just one more Democrat to call for an impeachment inquiry, arguing that Pelosi will soon be forced to move forward with impeachment proceedings.
“A whole lot of people think this take is crazy. But I saw a majority in the House today that was focused not on putting on a flashy show but instead on laying the foundation of a congressional record,” she argued. “I don’t think Pelosi can hold it at bay much longer.
A whole lot of people think this take is crazy. But I saw a majority in the House today that was focused not on putting on a flashy show but instead on laying the foundation of a congressional record. I don’t think Pelosi can hold it at bay much longer. https://t.co/2zw9vguXhT
— Susan Hennessey (@Susan_Hennessey) July 24, 2019