Here We Go: Senior Member of House Leadership Appears to Back Impeachment, As Trump's Approval...Rises

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Posted: Jun 03, 2019 1:55 PM
Here We Go: Senior Member of House Leadership Appears to Back Impeachment, As Trump's Approval...Rises

Based on the New York Times' weekend whip count, 54 House Democrats have come out in favor of impeaching President Trump, while 58 are opposed to the idea or undecided.  The remaining 123 have not responded to inquiries one way or another.  Which category would Rep. James Clyburn, the majority whip, fall under?  On Sunday, he told CNN's Jake Tapper that he expects impeachment to occur, or at least impeachment proceedings to begin, "at some point" in the future:


Numerous 2020 Democratic presidential contenders have voiced support for commencing the impeachment process, with even Joe Biden -- who shares Pelosi's tactical opposition -- describing that eventuality as possibly "unavoidable" moving forward.  Why is the Speaker's conundrum so challenging?  This just about sums it up:


In every single poll cited, a majority of the electorate opposes Congress triggering impeachment proceedings.  The minority cohorts that take the opposite view range from 29 to 41 percent.  In two presidential battleground states surveyed -- Pennsylvania and Wisconsin -- support for impeachment is underwater by double-digits, including by 36 percentage points in the Badger state.  Former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy writes at National Review that the Mueller investigation was always, in effect, an impeachment probe.  The relevant question now is what divided House Democrats are prepared to do about it:

Mueller’s report is 448 pages long. His press-conference remarks took less than ten minutes, and the substantive discussion of obstruction was but a fraction of that. In those fleeting moments, what were the precious few highlights from the report that Mueller wanted Americans to grasp? They were, first, that the OLC guidance dictated that the president could not be charged; and second, that if Mueller were convinced that the president had not committed a crime, he would have said so . . . but he did not say so — in Mueller’s constitutionally offensive, hyper-political articulation, he would not “exonerate” the president. There is only one rational explanation for this performance. Mueller wants Congress and the public to presume that if it were not for the OLC guidance, it is very likely that he would have charged the president with obstruction — maybe not an absolute certainty, but nearly so...This should not be a surprise. We have been saying since shortly after Mueller was appointed that his investigation was not a collusion probe but an obstruction probe, and that this necessarily made it an impeachment probe...

Mueller’s shrewd staffers accomplished exactly what they hoped to accomplish: Make sure the report was disclosed to Congress intact, with 200 pages of obstruction evidence, a legal analysis that tends toward a finding of obstruction, and an express assertion by the special counsel that if he had found Trump did not commit a crime, he would have said so. And now, for good measure, Mueller took pains on Wednesday to stress that, in our system, it is Congress’s duty to address presidential misconduct. For partisan lawyers who saw their special-counsel gig as an opportunity to play congressional impeachment counsel, it is Mission Accomplished.

Okay, but now what? Pelosi clearly doesn't want to move on impeachment, but growing numbers of House Democrats are going rogue, including members of leadership (and not just Cyburn). I'll once again cite Philip Klein's column:

Democrats have forcefully argued that there is significant evidence that President Trump obstructed justice but also that they are not going to pursue impeachment at this time. Their current position has become untenable. If Democrats honestly believe Trump committed a crime and that only Congress can punish him for it, they have an obligation to pursue impeachment. If they don’t take that step, they should stop describing Trump’s actions as clearly criminal...The lack of follow-through on impeachment will only undermine their statements about the clear evidence of Trump’s criminal misconduct.

I'll leave you with the latest Harvard/Harris poll pegging Trump's overall approval rising to 48 percent, with 62 percent approving of his performance on jobs, and 59 giving a thumbs-up to his handling of the economy: