POLITICS

Self-Impeach? Talk Shifts Toward Trump Defiance Of Congress

May 13, 2019, 6:58 AM | Updated: Jun 8, 2022, 5:09 pm
U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) answers questions during a press conference at the U.S. Capitol on May 09, 2019 in Washington, DC. During the press conference Pelosi said the U.S. is in a "constitutional crisis" and warned that House Democrats may find additional members of the Trump administration in contempt of congress for not complying with congressional subpoenas. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
(D-CA)

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has introduced a new concept into the debate over President Donald Trump’s actions: “self-impeaching.”

As Trump all but goads Democrats into impeachment proceedings , viewing the showdown as potentially valuable for his 2020 re-election campaign , Democrats are trying to show restraint. Their investigations are both intensifying but also moving slowly as Democrats dig into the special counsel’s Trump-Russia report and examine Trump’s finances and governance.

The more they push, the more Trump resists, the president making what Pelosi says is his own case for impeachment with his stonewalling of Congress.

“The president is self-impeaching,” she told her colleagues last week during a private caucus meeting, echoing comments she also aired in public. “He’s putting out the case against himself. Obstruction, obstruction, obstruction. Ignoring subpoenas and the rest.”

She added, “He’s doing our work for us, in a certain respect.”

There is no actual process for self-impeachment. It’s a thought bubble more than a legal term. A pure Pelosi-ism, one that an aide says she coined herself.

But as a device, it’s a way for Pelosi to frame the often complicated idea of the White House refusing to engage with Congress in the traditional process of checks and balances.

“Sometimes people act as if it’s impeachment or nothing,” Pelosi told reporters. “No, it’s not that. It’s a path that is producing results and gathering information.”

In the aftermath of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, the slow drip of congressional oversight also serves a dual purpose politically. It allows Democrats to keep impeachment proceedings at bay, despite calls to push ahead by the liberal flank, while stoking questions about Trump going into the 2020 presidential election.

They note the Watergate investigation dragged on two years before the House Judiciary Committee opened impeachment proceedings against President Richard Nixon. By the time articles of impeachment were drawn up, the third entry was Nixon’s obstruction of Congress.

Rather than viewing Mueller’s report as the end of the debate, Democrats in Congress have taken his findings as a green light to dig in with their oversight role.

So far, House committees have issued multiple subpoenas for executive branch information, including for an unredacted version of the Mueller report and some million of pages of underlying evidence; for testimony and documents from former White House counsel Don McGahn; for information on Trump’s business dealings; and for Trump’s tax returns.

Others subpoenas have been issued over the administration’s policies on migrant children and on citizenship questions on the census.

“My Democratic colleagues seem to be publicly working through the five stages of grief,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell mused in a floor speech. The Kentucky Republican scoffed at their “laughable threats of impeachment.”

As McConnell declared the “case closed,” he noted that the final stage of grief is acceptance. “For the country’s sake, I hope my Democratic friends get there soon,” he said.

Except Mueller’s 448-page report left Congress with questions. While the special counsel found no evidence the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to swing the 2016 election, Mueller did not render a decision on the question of whether the president obstructed justice in the investigation. “It also does not exonerate him,” the report says.

At least one Republican, Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, appears to have questions, too. His committee issued a subpoena for testimony from one of the president’s sons, Donald Trump, Jr. The move sparked fierce blowback among allies of the White House and divided Senate Republicans into two camps: those who backed his oversight role and those who panned it.

Trump, during remarks at the White House, said he was “very surprised.”

What his supporters want to know, the president said, is how the whole question of Russian interference first started. A top Trump ally in Congress, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., is starting his own investigation into the investigation, picking up where House Republicans, when they controlled the committees before the lost he majority last year, left off.

House Democrats want Mueller to testify. His report notes that Congress has the ability to “apply the obstruction laws” as part of “our constitutional system of checks and balances and the principle that no person is above the law.” The Democrats want Mueller to more fully explain what he found and what, if anything, he intended for them to do about it.

“Our strategy right now is just to get to the truth and the facts,” said Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., a member of the House Judiciary Committee.

Raskin said he kept a little chart on his notepad during a hearing last week, when the committee voted to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress for refusing to turn over the full Mueller report, and it was the Republicans who most mentioned impeachment.

“The Republicans would love us to begin impeachment process,” he said. “If we get to impeachment, we’re going to get there on our own schedule and for our own reasons, not because they need to throw some red meat to their base.”

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Politics

Georgia Democratic Senate candidate U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA) answers questions from the med...
BILL BARROW and JEFF AMY, Associated Press

Democratic Sen. Warnock wins Georgia runoff against Walker

Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock has defeated Republican challenger Herschel Walker in a runoff election in Georgia.
1 day ago
LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 29: In this photo illustration, three screens display the splash page for...
Associated Press

Facebook parent Meta threatens to remove news from platform

Facebook parent Meta Platforms says it will be forced to consider removing news content from its platform if Congress passes legislation that could require social media companies to pay news outlets.
1 day ago
(File) Front row, left to right: Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Associate Justice Clarence Thom...
JESSICA GRESKO and MARK SHERMAN, Associated Press

Justices spar in latest clash of religion and gay rights

The Supreme Court’s conservative majority is sounding sympathetic to a Christian graphic artist who objects to designing wedding websites for gay couples.
1 day ago
FILE: Residents wait in line to vote early outside a polling station on November 29, 2022 in Atlant...
Bill Barrow and Jeff Amy, Associated Press

Warnock or Walker? Georgia runoff to settle last Senate seat

Georgia voters on Tuesday are deciding the final Senate contest in the country, choosing between Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock and Republican football legend Herschel Walker.
1 day ago
PHOENIX, AZ - NOVEMBER 14: A right wing activist wearing a 'LAKE FOR GOVERNOR' hat stands on the si...
JONATHAN J. COOPER, Associated Press

Arizona certifies 2022 election despite GOP complaints

Arizona’s top officials have certified the midterm election results, formalizing victories for Democrats over Republicans who falsely claimed the 2020 election was rigged.
2 days ago
Former President Donald Trump speaks at a rally on Sept. 25, 2021, in Perry, Georgia. (Photo by Sea...
HOPE YEN, Associated Press

Trump rebuked for call to suspend Constitution over election

Former President Donald Trump is facing rebuke from both parties after calling for the “termination” of parts of the Constitution over his lie that the 2020 election was stolen.
3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 reasons you may want to consider apartment life over owning a home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Take this quiz before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t let a ransomware attack get you down | Protect your workplace today with cyber insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
Self-Impeach? Talk Shifts Toward Trump Defiance Of Congress