House Democratic chairmen who cast votes in favor of impeaching President TrumpDonald John TrumpForget the spin: Five unrefuted Mueller Report revelations Lara Trump: Merkel admitting migrants ‘one of the worst things that ever happened to Germany’ Financial satisfaction hits record high: survey MORE while Republicans controlled the chamber now say it’s too soon to hit the gas on starting impeachment proceedings.
The senior Democratic lawmakers, who voted in favor of impeachment articles from Rep. Al GreenAlexander (Al) N. GreenMoulton: Dems ‘made a mistake’ waiting to discuss impeachment until now Democrats face Catch-22 with Trump impeachment strategy Dems seek to rein in calls for impeachment MORE (D-Texas) in the last Congress, are largely toeing their leadership’s line of caution, saying committees should move forward with investigations of Trump.
The committee leaders who voted in favor of Green’s impeachment articles in 2017 and 2018 either once or both times include Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot EngelEliot Lance EngelBipartisan lawmakers urge Trump to reconsider Central America aid cuts Dem House chairs: Mueller report ‘does not exonerate the president’ Live coverage: Frenzy in DC as Congress, White House brace for Mueller report MORE (N.Y.), Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie ThompsonBennie Gordon ThompsonDems accuse White House of caving to Trump’s ‘ego’ on Russian meddling De Blasio vows to take Trump to court over sanctuary city proposal The Hill’s Morning Report – Waiting on Mueller: Answers come on Thursday MORE (Miss.), Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern (Mass.), Science Committee Chairwoman Eddie Bernice JohnsonEddie Bernice JohnsonHillicon Valley — Presented by CTIA and America’s wireless industry — Prosecutors used FISA warrant to get info on Huawei | Study finds discrimination in Facebook ads | Bezos retains voting control over ex-wife’s Amazon stocks Dem senators introduce bill to combat sexual harassment in STEM Pelosi, Dems unveil bill to bind Trump to Paris climate accord MORE (Texas), Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone (N.J.), Small Business Committee Chairwoman Nydia VelazquezNydia Margarita VelasquezDOJ inspector general to investigate Brooklyn detention center power outage Ocasio-Cortez storms Washington, winning headlines but rankling some colleagues Women poised to take charge in Dem majority MORE (N.Y.) and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Raul Grijalva (Ariz.).
Engel and Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine WatersMaxine Moore WatersDemocrats are playing voters on their fantasies for impeachment On The Money: Fed pick Moore says he will drop out if he becomes a ‘political problem’ | Trump vows to fight ‘all the subpoenas’ | Deutsche Bank reportedly turning Trump records over to NY officials | Average tax refund down 2 percent Suspect charged for pipe bomb mailings says Trump rallies became like a ‘drug’ for him MORE (D-Calif.) are both leading investigations of Trump; Waters is notable in having called for Trump’s impeachment before and after the release of special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE’s report.
Engel, who backed impeachment in separate votes in 2017 and 2018, echoed Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D’Alesandro PelosiDemocrats are playing voters on their fantasies for impeachment The Hill’s Morning Report – Trump tells House investigators ‘no’ Seven big decisions facing Biden in 2020 primary MORE (D-Calif.) during a conference call earlier this week with Democrats.
Engel said that Democrats “should be cautious” with impeachment, according to a source on the call, while explaining how his panel is investigating Russian interference.
“We need to look at this bizarre relationship between Putin and Trump,” Engel said during the call.
He added that he’s directing staff to inform foreign governments that do business with Trump hotels that they may be contributing to a violation of the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause, which is an issue that progressives like billionaire activist Tom Steyer have cited in calling for impeachment.
Johnson, who also voted in favor of Green’s impeachment resolution, took a similar tack.
“Impeachment is a sacred constitutional responsibility entrusted to Congress. I am committed to continuing to conduct oversight into the president’s conduct and wrongdoing as well as serving as a check on the president. This is what House Democrats were elected into the majority to do, and this is what we will do while Senate Republicans repeatedly show that they are willing to look the other way,” Johnson said in a statement.
McGovern deferred to the Judiciary Committee but didn’t rule out the prospect of impeachment.
“He trusts Chairman Nadler’s leadership on this issue. But given Special Counsel Mueller’s report and the president’s continued stonewalling of Congressional oversight requests, he doesn’t believe any options should be taken off the table,” McGovern spokesman Matt Bonaccorsi said.
Two members of Democratic leadership who, like Green, are members of the Congressional Black Caucus, at one point or another supported the efforts. Green alleged in his articles of impeachment that Trump was inflaming racial tensions in America.
House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) voted in favor of Green’s articles of impeachment in 2017 but joined other Democratic leaders the second time in voting to table them. The votes forced by Green drew the support of 58 Democrats the first time and 66 a month later, but the majority of his colleagues joined leadership in rejecting the efforts.
“His vote in 2017 was to express his disapproval of the president on the record,” Clyburn spokeswoman Hope Derrick said.
House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem JeffriesHakeem Sekou JeffriesDems attack Barr’s credibility after report of White House briefings on Mueller findings The Hill’s 12:30 Report: Assange faces US charges after dramatic arrest Dem leader: Trump’s Fed picks like something out of ‘SNL’ MORE (D-N.Y.), voted to table Green’s articles the first time but voted in favor of them in January 2018 after Trump came under fire for deriding protections for immigrants from “shithole” African countries.
Democratic chairmen face some pressure to back Pelosi, who has argued it would be unwise to move forward with impeachment given the likelihood that the Republican Senate would not convict Trump. Pelosi also remembers how impeachment boomeranged on House Republicans in the Clinton era.
Most of the calls to move forward on impeachment have come from liberal members of the Democratic caucus. Pelosi is worried impeachment could be used by Republicans against many of the vulnerable Democrats who won swing districts in 2018.
Waters is one committee chair who backed Green’s call for impeachment when Democrats were in the minority, and has kept her position in the majority.
In the wake of Mueller’s report, she said she still supports impeachment.
“Mueller kicked the impeachment ball to the Congress. The Constitution gives the responsibility to Congress to impeach an unfit president – ‘high crimes and misdemeanors.’ What more do we need? #impeach45” Waters wrote in a series of tweets this week.
She also made a point of noting that impeachment is in House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis Nadler21 questions for Robert Mueller Klobuchar on impeachment: ‘I’m the jury’ Where 2020 Democratic candidates stand on impeachment MORE‘s (D-N.Y.) court, writing that “Dems divided. The impeachment resolution must start with & be taken up by the Judiciary Committee. Rep. Nadler is the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee.”
Nadler, as well as Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsThe Hill’s Morning Report – Trump tells House investigators ‘no’ White House denies Cummings’s request for Stephen Miller to testify on immigration: reports Trump effort to stonewall faces thorny legal challenge MORE (D-Md.) and Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffOn The Money: Treasury misses second Dem deadline on Trump tax returns | Waters renews calls for impeachment | Dem wants Fed pick to apologize for calling Ohio cities ‘armpits of America’ | Stocks reach record high after long recovery On The Money: Cain withdraws from Fed consideration | Says he didn’t want ‘pay cut’ | Trump sues to block subpoena for financial records | Dems plot next move in Trump tax-return battle Pelosi downplays impeachment post-Mueller report MORE (D-Calif.), did not vote in favor of Green’s efforts.
Thompson, meanwhile, notably retweeted a message from Green last week calling for impeachment. A spokesman for Thompson did not return requests for comment.
Other committee leaders who voted in favor of Green’s articles in the past avoided mentioning the word impeachment at all when reacting to the release of Mueller’s report and instead joined calls for the full, unredacted version of the special counsel’s findings. Both Pallone and Velazquez cast doubt on Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrSessions: It’s time to accept the results of the Mueller report and move on George Conway lashes out at ‘Deranged Donald’ on Twitter The Hill’s Morning Report – Trump tells House investigators ‘no’ MORE and said they wanted to see Mueller testify before Congress.
Grijalva, meanwhile, indicated that impeachment isn’t a realistic option compared to asking voters to make the decision whether to oust Trump.
“Election time is when you beat Trump,” Grijalva told Politico.
Green told The Hill that he’s waiting to see what the Judiciary Committee does next before forcing a third vote on impeachment, which he’s threatened since February.
Green has cosponsored articles of impeachment from Rep. Brad ShermanBradley (Brad) James ShermanDems seek to rein in calls for impeachment House Dem: Mueller report offers ‘ample evidence’ for impeachment Dems offer bill directing IRS to create free online tax filing service MORE (D-Calif.) arguing that Trump obstructed justice by firing James ComeyJames Brien ComeySessions: It’s time to accept the results of the Mueller report and move on Davis: The shocking fact that Mueller never would have accused Trump of a crime Sarah Sanders is entitled to her opinions, but not her own facts MORE as FBI director as well as a resolution from Rep. Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibAmnesty International, lawmakers denounce Saudi executions: ‘Appalling’ Democrats’ CNN town halls exposed an extreme agenda Dems seek to rein in calls for impeachment MORE (D-Mich.) calling on the House Judiciary Committee to investigate whether Trump has committed impeachable offenses. But Green has yet to unveil a new impeachment resolution of his own this year.
“I’m going to give the committee an opportunity to act,” Green said in a phone interview. “But if the committee doesn’t act, I’m not going to let my record show that a president who was unfit, who has obstructed justice, is above the law.”
Green said that he’s not lobbying colleagues on impeachment, saying that “under these circumstances, it is better to stand alone than not stand at all.”
Scott Wong contributed.