Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is still, formally, the Speaker of the House. But as of Tuesday, when Democrats meet to discuss moving forward with an impeachment inquiry, control belongs to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY).
Just two months ago, Pelosi denigrated Cortez and her three left-wing allies — first-term Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), and Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) — as the “Squad,” mocking them as a four-vote minority.
It was Tlaib who declared, on her first day in office, that Democrats would “impeach the motherfucker.” She and Rep. Al Green (D-TX) introduced an impeachment resolution in March. Ocasio-Cortez and Omar soon joined them.
But Pelosi pushed back constantly, as she had done when some Democrats started talking impeachment during the 2018 midterm elections (partly at the urging of billionaire mega-donor Tom Steyer, now running for president).
Pelosi vowed that the facts would guide her, particularly the investigation of Special Counsel Robert Mueller into allegations of “Russian collusion” with the Trump campaign and obstruction of justice by President Donald Trump.
As she resisted the “resistance,” Pelosi feuded publicly with Ocasio-Cortez over a variety of issues, complaining that the freshman member kept tweeting criticism of the party leadership. The two reached a truce in late July.
However, over the weekend, Ocasio-Cortez tweeted an indirect, rebuke of Pelosi: “At this point, the bigger national scandal isn’t the president’s lawbreaking behavior – it is the Democratic Party’s refusal to impeach him for it.”
The trigger was the controversy Trump allegedly asking the Ukrainian president to investigate alleged corruption by former vice president Joe Biden’s son. Trump ordered the transcript of his conversation released Wednesday.
But Pelosi is no longer waiting for the facts. She will make her stand based on the supposed principle that Congress is entitled to information from a reported whistleblower complaint that the administration has withheld thus far.
Yet Pelosi has other avenues, such as the courts, to pursue that information. She has been forced to change her view on impeachment because she no longer controls her caucus.
AOC and the Squad have won; they hold real power.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.