To impeach, or not to impeach?
Elizabeth Warren broke the ice for the 2020 field on Friday afternoon when she called for Trump’s impeachment in a Twitter thread.
And during a town hall on Monday night, two top-tier candidates – Senator Kamala Harris and Mayor Pete Buttigieg- joined the call to bounce Trump from office.
“I think he’s made it pretty clear that he deserves impeachment,” said Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who’s surging in polls right now.
But Mayor Pete and senators don’t make that decision- at least for Warren and Harris, not yet.
The people who will really decide this are the Democrats in the House of Representatives. And right now, they’re struggling with the question that Democrats always seems to be struggling with: what’s more important—principles or politics?
Speaker Pelosi seems to be trying to strike a balance: move forward slowly, play down the impeachment talk, and characterize your investigations as regular old fact-finding. She held an all-caucus call on Monday to rally her base, and in a readout provided by a person on the call she called on Democrats to “save our democracy.”
“Whether it’s articles of impeachment or investigations, it’s the same obtaining of facts. We don’t have to go to articles of impeachment to obtain the facts, the presentation of facts.”
A lot of House Dems seem to be following that lead for now. Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon represents a mostly blue-collar district west of Philly. She’s a freshman elected last fall on the anti-Trump wave. She’s also the Vice Chair of the Judiciary Committee—the committee that is normally tasked with an impeachment investigation.
When asked bluntly if she would impeach the president today, Scanlon said no.
“I wouldn’t right now. I think we have a lot of work to do to get there. It’s not something you jump into. There’s so many important avenues of investigation that we’re not finished with,” she said in her district office on Wednesday morning.
The office says that in the last week, they’ve received 178 letters or emails asking for impeachment; 85 letters or emails saying that oversight should happen first; and 124 people have asked for the Mueller report to fully released to the public.
One constituent call that Vice News was allowed to listen to on Wednesday featured a woman struggling with the impeachment decision- but for different reasons. But she urged members of Congress to “get to the bottom of this” Mueller report.
“I’m not sure about impeachment. I’d love it but Pence is evil. I’m concerned about him being president. At least Trump is dumb,” she explained to a Scanlon staffer.
But for the Congresswoman Scanlon this isn’t a question about Trump being dumb or not. It’s a question of how congress should do its job. Is the moral high ground to impeach Trump?
“I think acting as a check and balance on an administration that’s out of control in a lot of ways is the moral high ground. It’s why a lot of us ran and that’s why a lot of us were elected,” Scanlon told VICE News. That’s the question that Scanlon thinks faces each member of Congress: “When you look at all of the evidence does it lead you to conclude that for the good of our country. Impeachment is what we have to do that. That it’s an executive who cannot function.”
Scanlon thinks that if impeachment were to happen in the House, that Republicans may be on board.
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