“House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler discussed with Pelosi the advantages of an impeachment inquiry in terms of adding weight to a court case, according to a source with direct knowledge. Nadler, whose committee has been on the front lines of investigating the findings from within special counsel Robert Mueller’s report, broached the topic with Pelosi because several members of his committee have been pressing to open an inquiry …
… The tensions displayed behind closed doors underscore the growing divide within the caucus about how to proceed in the face of White House resistance to all its demands, as Pelosi and some of her top confidants argue that acting with too much haste would be a gift to their political foes while a growing faction of Democrats — that now includes several high-profile and high-ranking members — push them to take a tougher stand against what they call a lawless President.”
To be clear: This isn’t an open rebellion just yet. And that is a testament to the power and fear that Pelosi retains among Democrats in the House. Because, under any other leader, the floodgates on impeachment would have already burst open.
The political problem Pelosi is trying to navigate is a decidedly thorny one — made even more complicated by the Trump White House’s total refusal to cooperate in any way with the ongoing investigations being led by House Democrats.
“I believe we have come to a time of impeachment,” influential New York freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said Tuesday. “I think that at a certain point, this is no longer about politics, but it’s about upholding the rule of law.”
On the other hand, Pelosi knows that even if the House were to impeach Trump, it would die in the Republican-controlled Senate, where there are no signs that support for the President is cracking. If anything, support for Trump among Republican senators has grown strong since the release of the Mueller report.
To pursue impeachment in the House given its near-certain death in the Senate, then, would be to charge at a bit of a political windmill. (Many Democratic base voters know this and want the party’s leaders to do it anyway solely because of the principle of the thing.)
This is a classic rock-and-a-hard-place choice for Pelosi. While her let’s-wait-and-see approach has sated the base — and many members of her caucus — until now, with every passing day that the Trump administration stonewalls legislative attempts at oversight, her position becomes that much harder to hold. And, if Democrats were to lose a major legal fight in the coming weeks over their demands for more information and transparency from the Trump administration, it’s hard to see how Pelosi holds back the forces pushing for impeachment — no matter the potential political impacts on the party come 2020.
What’s clear from the last 24 hours of closed-door meeting among House Democrats is that patience is wearing thin for Pelosi’s slow-walk approach on impeachment. There’s an itch for action — and Pelosi may not be able to keep her colleagues from scratching it much longer.