Senate Democrats are putting the brakes on impeachment chatter in the House, cautioning that lawmakers need to do more work before even thinking about moving forward on the issue.
A number of steps should be taken before there can be a serious discussion about impeaching President TrumpDonald John TrumpOnly one way with Huawei — don’t let it control 5G Japan’s emperor is first to abdicate throne in two centuries Air Force secretary warns against European military force MORE, including hearing testimony from special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE, say several Senate Democrats.
They also want the House to review the unredacted version of his report and its underlying documentation.
“We ought to get the full report unredacted, get the underlying documentation, have Mueller come testify, and then we can make decisions on where to go,” Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerSchumer jokes NY Times erred in crossword clue: ‘Chuck’ has ‘five letters!’ MJ Hegar announces Texas Senate bid Hillicon Valley: House Dems subpoena full Mueller report | DOJ pushes back at ‘premature’ subpoena | Dems reject offer to view report with fewer redactions | Trump camp runs Facebook ads about Mueller report | Uber gets B for self-driving cars MORE (D-N.Y.) said Tuesday.
“We need to see the whole truth. Then we’ll make decisions on impeachment,” he added.
Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenWarren lays out plan to combat black maternal mortality in Essence op-ed Biden surges in primary polls Buttigieg momentum stalls for first time in weeks: poll MORE (D-Mass.) and Kamala HarrisKamala Devi Harris47 percent of black women say they’d back Biden: poll Biden surges in primary polls Buttigieg momentum stalls for first time in weeks: poll MORE (D-Calif.), who are both running for president, have come out in favor of starting impeachment proceedings, but they’re alone among Senate Democrats so far.
Even Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), one of Trump’s most outspoken critics, conceded Wednesday that “we need to present the case to the American people.”
“We need to present the evidence here before a decision is made on whether impeachment is pursued,” he said. “Very few Americans are going to read the Mueller report.”
Senate Democrats say there’s not enough public support to push ahead with impeachment without the danger of it backfiring — just as they say it did for Republicans in 1998 when they impeached then-President Clinton.
One senior Democrat, who requested anonymity to speak freely about the impeachment calls, noted that Democrats picked up seats in the House after Republicans impeached Clinton.
The lawmaker added that it would be close to impossible to muster the 20 Republican votes needed to reach 67 votes to convict Trump in the Senate on any House-passed articles of impeachment — an argument that has also repeatedly been underlined by Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D’Alesandro PelosiThe road from Pittsburgh to Poway: Why it’s different now The Hill’s Morning Report – Biden’s bid gets under Trump’s skin Dems lack unified plan for pushing Paris climate bill MORE (D-Calif.), who has sounded a cautious note on impeachment.
Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinFeinstein to introduce bill raising age to purchase assault weapons after California shooting Biden says he will run for president in 2020: ‘We have to remember who we are’ Seven big decisions facing Biden in 2020 primary MORE (Calif.), the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, noted that Democrats on her panel have asked for Mueller to appear before them. She said this would be an important test of the Trump administration.
“The Mueller report — I read a lot of reports, I really do — it was a tough read to read every line of those two volumes,” she said. “I think we need to finish collecting and looking at that report. And I think it’s vital that Mueller come before [us.]”
Democrats in tough reelection races next year are trying to tamp down talk of impeachment, which would rev up the conservative base and likely turn off swing voters.
Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.) says that while some of the president’s conduct as described in the Mueller report was “borderline appalling,” he does not favor impeachment.
“I’m not for that,” he said. “There needs to be some oversight, and we’ll see how that goes.”
He says the focus should be on strengthening U.S. voting systems and safeguarding future elections instead of on Trump’s “personal issues.”
Senate Democratic Whip Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinNo. 2 Senate Dem: ‘Too early’ to start Trump impeachment proceedings Dems want climate change, tax hikes in infrastructure deal Durbin calls Mueller report findings on Trump team ‘troubling’ MORE (Ill.) on Monday said it’s “too early” to begin impeachment proceedings and urged House lawmakers instead to “gather information, evidence, testimony.”
Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerGreen groups launch the ‘Beat Trump Presidential Climate Unity Fund’ Overnight Energy — Presented by Job Creators Network — Dems want Trump to tackle climate change in infrastructure deal | O’Rourke rolls out trillion climate plan | Why some greens think O’Rourke’s plan falls short Tim Ryan releases 10 years of tax returns MORE (D-N.J.), who is also running for president, has broken with Warren and Harris by joining other Democratic lawmakers who say there needs to be more investigation before floating the prospect of impeachment.
“I think right now we should continue this investigation. I think Mueller should come before and testify,” he said Tuesday when asked about impeachment. “I don’t think we should be having that conversation. I think we should still pursue the facts.”
Sen. Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyOnly four Dem senators have endorsed 2020 candidates More than 30 Senate Dems ask Trump to reconsider Central American aid cuts Long-shot goal of nixing Electoral College picks up steam MORE (D-Conn.) said colleagues can’t make an informed decision on impeachment without also seeing the information redacted from the Mueller report.
“I have no idea what’s in the redacted portions nor do I know what the underlying material is, so I’m not going to come to a conclusion,” he said.
A Washington Post/ABC News poll published last week found that only 37 percent of respondents said Congress should begin impeachment proceedings, while 56 percent voiced opposition.
There’s some concern among Senate Democrats that pursuing impeachment proceedings could paralyze congressional action on other issues.
Schumer noted to reporters earlier in the day that talk of the Mueller report and impeachment didn’t come up at a White House meeting between Trump and Democratic leaders.
Trump has warned that Democrats should not expect bipartisan dealmaking if they investigate him aggressively, declaring at his State of the Union address, “If there is going to be peace and legislation, there cannot be war and investigation.”
House Democrats, however, insist they can legislate and investigate at the same time.
“Washington is notorious for being able to compartmentalize,” said Rep. Gerry ConnollyGerald (Gerry) Edward ConnollyHouse Dems seek to make officials feel the pain House Oversight Dem threatens jail for Trump officials who don’t comply with subpoenas Democrats face Catch-22 with Trump impeachment strategy MORE (D-Va.). “I’ve gotten bills passed into law with the most unlikely of allies. Because though we may disagree on 90 percent of everything over here, this 10 percent we agree on, and we are willing to work together.”
Rep. Katherine ClarkKatherine Marlea ClarkThe Special Olympics are safe, but what about other programs DeVos would cut? Congress might finally fix the holes in workplace sexual harassment law Candace Owens clip becomes most watched C-SPAN Twitter video from a House hearing MORE (Mass.), vice chairwoman of the House Democratic Caucus, delivered a similar message, saying Democrats have “been working on two tracks since we took the majority.”
Whether the investigations undermine the infrastructure talks, she said, “is going to be 100 percent up to the president.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThanks to Sen. Richard Lugar, the world is safer, freer, and more prosperous The Hill’s Morning Report – Biden’s bid gets under Trump’s skin Dems lack unified plan for pushing Paris climate bill MORE (R-Ky.) on Tuesday called on Democrats to drop impeachment talk and move on to other issues.
“Having just gotten back after a couple of weeks at home, I thought it interesting that I didn’t get a single question about the Mueller report. Most Americans think it’s over, time to move on,” he said.
Jordain Carney and Mike Lillis contributed.