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Democrats Lack Numbers To Force Pelosi To Impeach

Pelosi is unlikely to enter into a battle over impeachment that she cannot win.

There has been a lot of talk about a possible impeachment of President Trump lately, but it appears to be just talk. New comments from a key Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee indicate that Democrats who favor impeachment are far short of the votes to force Speaker Pelosi to take up the issue.

In an interview with a Yahoo News podcast, Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) said that about 40 House Democrats now support impeachment. Cohen added that about 90 percent of Democrats on the Judiciary Committee would support impeachment. Nevertheless, with a Democratic caucus that numbers 235, the uprising against Speaker Pelosi’s decision to focus on the upcoming election rather than impeachment is too small to force a policy change.

While a revolt by 40 congressional Democrats is unusual, Speaker Pelosi has a long history of keeping a tight rein on her caucus. She is a shrewd politician who has had much luck controlling her party’s representatives than recent Republican speakers.

Nancy Pelosi has said numerous times that she opposes impeachment unless there is overwhelming bipartisan support. She echoed that opinion again yesterday, telling reporters, “The president’s behavior in terms of his obstruction of justice… yes, these could be impeachable offenses. If we can get the facts to the American people through our investigation, it may take us to a place that is unavoidable in terms of impeachment or not. But we’re not at that place.”

Thus far, only one Republican, Justin Amash, has announced his support for impeachment. With a Republican majority in the Senate, Pelosi would want to see support from significant numbers of Republican senators before she moves in the House. So far, that has not happened.

As I predicted last year, Nancy Pelosi is unlikely to enter into a battle over impeachment that she cannot win. Although the House would certainly vote to impeach, Donald Trump would survive a Senate vote and might well emerge from the process stronger.

President Trump senses this as well and seems to be attempting to goad Democrats into impeachment with increasingly obstructive behavior with respect to House investigations. The unpopular president likely hopes that impeachment would be even more unpopular and would salvage his hopes for re-election.

The speaker intends to have it both ways. Although beating Trump in the election is far more likely than impeaching him, Pelosi will keep up the pressure on Trump by trolling him incessantly and keeping the impeachment option on the table. The president typically takes the bait and fires back at her barbs, making him look erratic and unhinged, as he did this week when he stormed out of an infrastructure meeting with Democratic leaders after three minutes.

If unforced errors like that one continue, the Democrats won’t need to impeach Trump. Voters will send him packing next year.

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