Impeachment hearings by another name
As Democrats grapple with the fallout from release of the redacted Mueller report, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi appears to have staked out a position right in between Democratic lawmakers who wish to launch an impeachment inquiry immediately and those cautioning against the political costs of such an endeavor. It's a subtle shift from her effectively taking impeachment «off the table» because it's too divisive, to let's make the case to the American people through a fact-finding mission and see where we land. That's not likely to please the liberal wing of the Democratic party at present, but Pelosi's post-Mueller evolution on the topic seems to be driven less by politics than by duty to country and the realization that Democrats don't have the luxury of getting this wrong.
“We have to save our democracy,« Pelosi told fellow Democrats late Monday during a 90-minute phone call concerning impeachment. »This isn’t about Democrats or Republicans. It’s about saving our democracy,” she added.
Some Democratic lawmakers made an impassioned push for opening impeachment proceedings during the call. Rep. Val Demings of Florida, who spent 25 years in law enforcement, argued that the evidence against Trump had reached the threshold for opening an inquiry. “While I understand we need to see the full report and all supporting documents, I believe we have enough evidence now,” Demings said, according to the Washington Post.
But the caucus also undertook a discussion of how much the politics of impeachment should guide their decision on the matter, with some members arguing that whether you like it or not, «It is political.» Following the call, California Democratic Rep. Ro Khanna told MSNBC that Pelosi had downplayed the political considerations of the topic. When one member asked about polling on impeachment, «Nancy Pelosi cut him off,» Khanna recalled, paraphrasing the speaker as saying, «'Look, this is not going to be a political decision. We've been called by history—this is a duty, we need to make the case.'»
And to Pelosi, Democrats can make that case without calling it impeachment, per se, or as she put in a letter to her colleagues Monday, «the facts regarding holding the President accountable can be gained outside of impeachment hearings.»