Impeachment question divides Democratic party as voters demand leadership

Whether House Democrats should pursue impeachment is “a very consequential decision and one that I’m going to reserve judgment on until we’ve had a chance to fully deliberate on it,” House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff said on Fox News Sunday. Schiff said that Democrats will be doing that deliberation in a meeting in the coming weeks. Noting that the Republican-controlled Senate would be unlikely to convict Trump (pretty much no matter what), Schiff said, “Now, it may be that we undertake an impeachment nonetheless. I think what we are going to have to decide as a caucus is: What is the best thing for the country?”

House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerry Nadler similarly didn’t commit either way on impeachment itself, but did commit to a full investigation, saying that “it is our job to go through all the evidence, all the information we can get.”

Some Democrats worry that pushing too hard on impeachment “galvanizes Trump supporters,” as one New Hampshire Democrat told the New York Times. Former Obama and Clinton aide Jennifer Palmieri made the counter-argument: “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.”

Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Julián Castro, a former mayor of San Antonio and former secretary of Housing and Urban Development, have called for impeachment proceedings. Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke said, “I wouldn’t blame any member of the House for voting for this,” and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg is “pretty sure he deserves to be” impeached, but “Congress will have to figure procedurally what to do.”

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