House committee intensifies the push for impeaching Trump — but Nancy Pelosi is 'still putting the brakes'
Grassroots social change advocates on Monday urged House Democrats to use every tool at their disposal to pursue articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump as soon as possible, as House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler announced his committee was planning to hold hearings related to its investigation into Trump.
The New York Democrat announced his committee would hold a hearing on September 17 with former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, who the president reportedly twice directed to ask former Attorney General Jeff Sessions to limit the Mueller probe. The committee also subpoenaed former Trump aides Rick Dearborn and Rob Porter.
The hearing represents a "small, concrete step toward impeachment" and holding Trump accountable for alleged obstruction of justice, said the grassroots group CREDO Action, which has helped collect more than 10 million signatures from people who believe the president should be impeached for a number of offenses.
"But without Chairman Nadler setting a date for a vote on articles of impeachment," said CREDO Action campaign manager Thais Marques in a statement, "it's clear that Speaker Pelosi and Democratic leadership are still putting the brakes on impeachment. It's beyond time for the House to do more than small-bore resolutions to give them cover."
The House Judiciary Committee's statement reads that the panel "will consider procedures on Thursday for future hearings related to its investigation to determine whether to recommend articles of impeachment," and will vote on the procedures, but Marques called on Nadler to commit more fully to taking decisive action against the president.
"We urge Chairman Nadler to keep pushing forward, and vote articles of impeachment out of committee by October 1st," Marques said. "We can't wait any longer while Trump continues to abuse the presidency to enrich himself, obstruct justice, and enact hateful policies that target millions of Americans."
The procedures the committee will be considering include that evidence can be received by the committee in closed executive sessions to protect confidentiality and that the president's counsel may respond in writing to evidence and testimony presented to the Judiciary Committee.
Nadler noted in his statement that Trump stands credibly accused of abusing his power in a number of ways that have nothing to do with the Mueller investigation into the president's 2016 campaign.
"The president is in violation of the emoluments clauses of the Constitution as he works to enrich himself, putting the safety and security of our nation at risk," the chairman said. "He has dangled pardons, been involved in campaign finance violations, and stonewalled Congress across the board, noting that he will defy all subpoenas."
Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), a member of the Judiciary Committee, also said Monday the panel was expanding its inquiry to include Trump's dealings with Deutsche Bank and questions about whether the president engaged in money laundering and other activities that could have left him vulnerable to foreign influence.
"We are expanding the investigation outwards from the Mueller report to what I think every American can understand intuitively—the president has treated the office as an extended get-rich-quick scheme," Raskin told The Washington Post.
The national organization Need To Impeach applauded the committee for its expansion of the inquiry, which "could bolster an already overwhelmingly strong case for impeachment."
The House Judiciary Committee is demanding detailed documents from the White House and Trump’s private companies th… https://t.co/igf2NoBpbA— Need To Impeach 🍑 (@Need To Impeach 🍑)1568057400.0
The group also noted on Twitter that during Congress's August recess, grassroots demonstrators helped gain the support of more than a dozen Democrats who joined the majority of their colleagues in the House in backing impeachment proceedings against Trump.
Members of Congress heard us loud and clear during the August Recess: the time to impeach is NOW. Thank you for sta… https://t.co/MEtExeMkcT— Need To Impeach 🍑 (@Need To Impeach 🍑)1568037722.0
"In the past few weeks, we've seen more and more representatives publicly come out in favor of impeachment. This did not happen on its own. It happened because members of all our grassroots organizations came out and demanded action," Ezra Levin, co-executive director of Indivisible, said late last month, as the group's Impeachment August public action was underway. "Now, House leadership must listen to the people and take real, concrete steps toward impeachment."
"Only through impeachment," he added, "can we make it clear that Trump is not above the law."