Prominent Democrats in the House and Senate have emphasized they are not looking to impeach President Donald Trump. But with the 2018 midterm elections quickly approaching, the Democrat Party soon won’t be able to escape the impeachment issue, according to NBC News.
The last president to be impeached in the House of Representatives was Bill Clinton in 1998. Clinton would later be acquitted by the Senate, and he served out the remainder of his term.
Right now, Democrats’ chances of impeaching Trump are slim, as Republicans control both houses of Congress. As noted by NBC, however, Democrats are looking to take back one or both houses in 2018.
With a majority in the House of Representatives, Democrats would in theory be able to impeach the president, though they would need a two-thirds vote in the Senate to actually convict Trump and force him out of office.
According to an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll conducted last month, a significant majority of Democrat voters — 70 percent — indicated that Congress should hold impeachment hearings.
The issue at hand is that Democrat leadership does not seem to agree.
But citing competitive primary battles, as well as “pressure from the party’s base” and millions of dollars in donations from liberal California billionaire Tom Steyer, NBC claimed impeachment will be “impossible to ignore,” even if there are no bombshell developments in special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe.
“Dancing around just to avoid using the ‘i-word’ will only convince people that politicians want to avoid one of the key questions at hand,” said Ben Wikler, who serves as the Washington director for the liberal, pro-impeachment group MoveOn.org.
Meanwhile, Steyer, who spent $90 million in the 2016 election, wants impeachment to be discussed.
Steyer said Monday that he is spending $30 million in an attempt to help Democrats regain control of the House in 2018, making his voice one that Democrat leadership cannot afford to ignore.
He has already spent an additional $20 million as part of a campaign to convince the public that Trump should be impeached.
Though these two efforts are separate, Steyer said he will use his impeachment campaign’s sizable email list to let supporters know if their Democrat representatives have ignored the issue of impeachment.
“We know this makes some of our friends and allies in this city uncomfortable,” Steyer said. “Millions of Americans know this president is unfit to be president. They need to know that a Democratic Congress would do what is morally and urgently necessary.”
As pointed out by NBC, leaders in both major parties hope to avoid turning “Trump’s first midterm election into a referendum on his removal.”
“It’s about the well-being of American families,” Pelosi said late last year. “He’s just not that important. Impeachment would further divide us, not bring us together.”
Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia echoed these sentiments in a December interview on “Meet the Press.”
“I don’t think that impeachment is something we should be talking about,” Manchin said at the time.
Republicans seem to agree, at least in part, as members of of both parties overwhelmingly voted down an impeachment resolution that was introduced late last year.
And with impeachment a topic of conversation, Republican may look to show to show voters that their Democrat opponents are nothing more than obstructionists who want to see Trump’s downfall more than they desire to govern effectively.
“There are so many instances where these candidates are cannibalizing each other to get to the left-most position,” said Alex Smith, the executive director of Republican opposition research firm America Rising.
“There’s going to be a lot of money spent in these primaries and the candidates are going to get to positions on extreme left that they’re going to have to answer for in the general (election).”
On the other hand, National Republican Congressional Committee spokesperson Jesse Hunt said GOP candidates may be better off simply focusing on policy.
“We always encourage our candidates to focus on the issues that their constituents actually care about,” Hunt said. “More money in people’s paychecks as a result of tax reform and Democrats’ universal opposition to said reform is a perfect example.”
Finally NBC noted that with Democrat Rep. Jerrold Nadler of New York — a constitutional law expert — now the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, Democrats may be gearing up for an impeachment push.
According to liberal activist Zephyr Teachout, the majority of Democrat candidates engaged in competitive primary battles will, at the very least, express their support for an impeachment investigation.
“This is a moral question, not a political one,” she said.
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