The pressure on Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi intensified on Monday, when a group of top Democrats in the House confronted her in a closed-door meeting demanding that she authorize the opening of impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump — but Pelosi continued to resist the calls for Trump’s impeachment, according to a report published on Monday by The Washington Post.
The Post account was independently reported by the Washington site Politico, which reported that in a meeting of the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee, Tennessee Representative Steve Cohen “demanded” that the House impeach Trump. But Pelosi responded, “This is not about politics, it’s about what’s best for the American people,” according to the Politico account.
Cohen in the meeting compared the impeachment of Trump to the impeachment carried out by a Republican-controlled House in 1998 against Democratic President Bill Clinton, over allegations surrounding Clinton’s affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. Cohen told Pelosi that while Clinton was impeached “over sex,” Trump was more deserving of impeachment because he is “raping the country.”
But Pelosi and several allies, including House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, said that moving ahead with impeachment would cause the Democrats’ legislative agenda to be “drowned out,” according to Politico.
But one of the strongest voices for impeachment in the meeting was Rhode Island Representative David Cicilline — who led the fight for a bill banning discrimination against LGBTQ Americans that just passed the House last week, as BuzzFeed reported.
While pursuing a legislative agenda, Cicilline also pushed Pelosi to begin impeachment hearings, telling The Post, “It’s a fact-finding process. There’s no doubt that opening an inquiry strengthens the hand of Congress in forcing compliance with subpoenas, whether it’s for documents or individuals.”
On Monday, former White House Counsel Don McGhan said through his lawyers in a letter to House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerrold Nadler that he would defy the committee’s subpoena to testify, on orders from Trump, as NBC News reported.
McGhan is the White House witness cited more often than any other in the report on his investigation’s findings by special counsel Robert Mueller, a report which may be read online as posted by The New York Times.
Though McGhan no longer works for the White House, Trump “directed” him to ignore the subpoena, and in the letter, posted online by CNN, McGhan said he would follow Trump’s orders, and “maintain the status quo.”
McGhan nonetheless remains scheduled by the Judiciary Committee to appear at 10 a.m. Eastern Time on Tuesday to give testimony. According to the Post report, Democrats on the committee plan to begin public calls for the impeachment of Trump if McGhan does not show up.