Democratic lawmakers in Washington, D.C., are trying to quiet their grassroots counterparts from pushing talk of impeaching President Donald Trump because they fear discussion of the issue is premature and could backfire.
According to Politico, talk of impeachment is trickling up from a base concerned about Trump's alleged ties to Russia and how — or if — those alleged ties played a role in the 2016 election. The grassroots Democratic base is eager for an investigation and more.
However, party congressional leaders fear too much language past calls for a mere investigation, up to and including talk of impeachment, "could backfire in spectacular fashion by making the party appear too overzealous in its opposition to Trump," writes Politico. What's more, Democrats on the hill worry that talk of impeachment too early may shore up Trump's Republican support and lead to "significant fundraising and political ammunition when the chances of success for an early impeachment push are remote, at best."
“We need to assemble all of the facts, and right now there are a lot of questions about the president’s personal, financial, and political ties with the Russian government before the election, but also whether there were any assurances made,” California Rep. Eric Swalwell, a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, told the magazine. “Before you can use the ‘I’ word, you really need to collect all the facts."
“The ‘I’ word we should be focused on,” added Pennsylvania Rep. Brendan Boyle, “is 'investigations.'"
The anti-Trump Democratic base, who have been known to call themselves "The Resistance" on social media, have adopted, says Politico, a "stop-Trump-at-all-costs posture." Anti-Trump rallies have been consistently popping up since his inauguration in January; some tied to specific policy decisions such as the executive order he issued his first week in office barring travel from specific Muslim nations, and others just general strikes, like ones planned in Atlanta and across the country for President's Day Monday.
There are some Democratic lawmakers who, rather than exercising caution over the issue of impeachment, are fanning the flames. From Politico:
But it’s not just furious rank-and-file Democrats who are raising the idea. A handful of Democratic House progressives — among them California Rep. Maxine Waters, Maryland Rep. Jamie Raskin, and Texas Rep. Joaquin Castro — have already publicly raised the specter of impeachment.
Waters has said she thinks Trump is marching himself down the path to impeachment, while Raskin — whose office was presented this week with a petition carrying more than 850,000 signatures calling for impeachment — has repeatedly brought up the prospect of voting for impeachment "at some point" in rallies and interviews. Castro has said Trump should be impeached if the president repeatedly instructed Customs and Border Protection officials to ignore federal judges' orders.
Many Democrats in Washington find their colleagues' strong language regarding impeaching a president who has been in office only a month worrisome. Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) said Waters’ impeachment chatter was “strategically incoherent” and “reckless" this month.
However, the belief by many Democrats, and likely at least a partial reason for the groundswell of support behind calls of impeachment, is that a Democratic-controlled House of Representatives would impeach Trump. "A recent poll came out saying that 46 percent of Americans want the president impeached, and certainly members of Congress take notice," California Democrat Rep. Ted Lieu told Politico.
Talk of impeachment from the base has reportedly ramped up since the resignation of Michael Flynn as national security adviser Monday over allegations he had improper conversations with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. prior to the inauguration.