I think it’s safe to say that House Judiciary Committee chairman Jerry Nadler and his Judiciary Committee allies in Democratic leadership have moved Nancy “I’m not for impeachment” Pelosi a bit on this subject. Two days ago, they reportedly came and asked the Speaker to initiate impeachment proceedings (their committee would oversee them), and she rebuffed them—isolating herself even further on this subject.
Today, the Speaker of the House walked right up to impeachment without completely advocating for it.
It remains to be seen whether this is simply a public statement made to placate the majority of her party who wants to impeach a transparently criminal president who throws children in cages, or evidence of real movement on this very serious subject. Removing Trump from office will not happen given that Mitch “I will wrestle a great white shark to gain one circuit judge” McConnell controls the Senate, but that’s not the point of impeachment.
The point of impeachment is that the constitution mandates that Congress should oversee the executive, and it has weaponized Congress against the executive by giving it the power of impeachment—a process where evidence of presidential crimes is presented in a publicly-accountable forum. Once the House completes this process, it’s up to the Senate to decide whether or not to convict the president via removal. Not only is impeachment an indisputably required move by Congress, but it’s a winning political play for Democrats: unearth the seemingly infinite list of impeachable offenses committed by the Trump administration, and force him and the GOP to spend the next 18 months defending them.
Jacob Weindling is a staff writer for Paste politics. Follow him on Twitter at @Jakeweindling.