Following Wednesday’s narrative-wrecking testimony from former special counsel Robert Mueller on Capitol Hill, Democrats are apparently divided on how — or whether — to proceed with efforts to impeach President Donald Trump. Friday’s mixed messages from top House Democrats only further confirm the division.
On Friday, just after Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., dismissed criticism for not moving fast enough on impeachment, one of her top committee chairs said his panel was already investigating it, in effect.
“I’m not trying to run out the clock” on formal impeachment procedures, Pelosi said in response to a reporter’s question. “Let’s get sophisticated about this okay? Okay? We will proceed when we have what we need to proceed. Not one day sooner.”
She also added that the activity of those on the Left who want her to move more quickly on impeachment action against the president “only gives me leverage.”
Nancy Pelosi says she's not running out the clock on impeachment while delaying starting an impeachment inquiry.pic.twitter.com/zSgtrfVODH
— BlazeTV (@BlazeTV) July 26, 2019
However, hours later, House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., told reporters than an impeachment investigation was “in effect” under way already.
“I think too much has been made of the phrase ‘impeachment inquiry,'” Nadler told a reporter at a press conference about a committee lawsuit to obtain protected grand jury information from the Mueller report. “We are doing what our court filing said we are doing, what I said we are doing, and that is to say we are using our full Article I powers to investigate the conduct of the president and to consider, whether, what remedies there are.”
As to whether those remedies would include recommending articles of impeachment, Nadler said “we may not do that, we may do that, but that’s a conclusion at the end of the process.”
Later in the conference, when asked to clarify whether he was saying there is no difference between what he’s doing now and an impeachment inquiry, a visibly flustered Nadler answered, “In effect.”
Nadler added that there is “one difference” between a formal inquiry and what the committee has been doing, noting that a formal impeachment inquiry only considers impeachment, while the committee’s current activities will consider other actions as well.
“We are going to see what remedies we could recommend, including the possibility of articles of impeachment,” Nadler clarified. “We’re not limited to that.”
Meanwhile, another top House Democrat dismissed the viability of impeachment as an option for removing Trump from office on Thursday.
“We do need to be realistic, and that is, the only way he’s leaving office, at least at this point, is by being voted out, and I think our efforts need to be made in every respect to make sure we turn out our people,” House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said on CNN. “Should we put the country through an impeachment? I haven’t been convinced yet that we should, and going through that kind of momentous and disruptive experience for the country, I think, is not something we go into lightly.”