Some House Democrats have grown frustrated with Donald Trump’s stonewalling of committee investigations into his presidency, and his refusal to comply with congressional subpoenas. Those same democrats plan to pressure Speaker Nancy Pelosi to change her “reluctant” stance on beginning impeachment proceedings against his administration, his businesses, and his ties to Russia, according to a new Washington Post report published on Friday. In public remarks earlier in the day, Pelosi said that she continues to oppose impeachment, even though she admitted that Trump gives “grounds” for impeachment “every day.”
“I think the President every day gives grounds for impeachment in terms of his obstruction of justice. You never say, blanketly, I’m not answering any subpoenas,” Pelosi said while speaking at a Georgetown University Law School event, as quoted by CNN. But she added that she did not “want to impeach” at this time, and prefers to wait in hopes that Trump and his administration ultimately hand over documents and information demanded by several congressional committees.
Pelosi also declined to back calls for House Democrats to use the powers available by declaring members of the Trump administration to be in contempt of Congress, according to a HuffPost report. Under the contempt law, Trump officials who resist subpoenas could, in theory, be punished by financial fines or even incarceration. But while acknowledging that using the contempt power is “an option,” Pelosi said “I don’t have to have a position” on where Congress should use that option or not.
Pelosi’s position has remained consistent throughout Trump’s term. In 2017, when Texas Democrat Al Green brought articles of impeachment against Trump to the floor of the House, he was shut down by an overwhelming vote of 364-58, with most Democrats joining the then-majority Republicans in the House in opposing impeachment, as reported by The Texas Tribune.
On Friday, when some House Democrats spoke to The Washington Post, they appeared more open to the possibility of beginning impeachment inquiries against Trump, and to leaning on Pelosi to alter her stance.
“We respect her leadership and we respect her strategic sense about how these things work, her political sense. But I think we’re all getting to a point where we know something more has to be done,” Ohio Democrat Marcia Fudge told The Washington Post.
Maryland Representative Jamie Raskin told the paper that he expected the House to begin debating impeachment “over the next several weeks,” while Virginia Democrat Gerald Connolly said that Democratic voters were demanding that their congressional representatives move against Trump.
“Our base is furious with the defiance of the Trump administration and absolutely expects us to respond forcefully,” Connolly said.
In a poll released on May 1 by NPR, 70 percent of Democrats said they favored impeachment, while only 23 percent opposed impeaching Trump. But impeachment was strongly opposed by Republicans, with 91 percent against, while the issue splits independent voters, with 51 percent against impeachment and 40 percent in favor.