House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) hosted the committee’s first so-called “impeachment” hearing on Tuesday despite a report that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is concerned he has gone too far and a new poll showing that most voters are still against impeachment.
The hearing featured witness Corey Lewandowski, former Trump campaign manager, and was panned as a failure even by critics of President Trump for devolving into a debacle and Democrats not being able to land any kind of blow.
After the end, Nadler — who is facing a primary challenge on his left — vowed they would “hold President Trump accountable.”
But a new report from Politico said Pelosi is unhappy with the way Nadler’s committee is handling the impeachment issue.
According to the outlet, in a closed-door meeting last week, Pelosi criticized the committee’s aides for advancing impeachment “far beyond” where the Democrat caucus stands. She added that Democrats simply did not have the votes on the floor to impeach Trump.
“And you can feel free to leak this,” Pelosi said, according to the report.
Pelosi’s remarks sounded more like Republicans’ during the hearing than Democrats’. Ranking Republican Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) pointed out that Democrats wanted to talk about impeachment without actually taking a vote on the House floor, where they currently would not have the votes. The number in favor stands just above 130. They need 218 for impeachment.
Pelosi has opposed impeachment, wary of the political backlash and effect it could have on Democrats holding onto the House. She had tried to protect vulnerable Democrats in red states and districts who were crucial to winning the Democrats’ House majority.
Only 37 percent of voters support beginning impeachment proceedings, while 50 percent oppose doing so, and 12 percent are undecided, according to a new Politico/Morning Consult poll.
The poll showed that independents tilt heavily against impeaching Trump, with only 31 percent supporting beginning impeachment proceedings, compared to 50 percent who think Congress should not begin them.
Pelosi is also reportedly concerned with reports that House Judiciary Committee staff were lobbying more members of the committee to come out in favor of impeachment, according to Politico.
And she is reportedly concerned with Nadler going beyond specific language she approved regarding impeachment.
“She signed off on that, that’s where Nadler should have stayed,” one Pelosi aide said.
But the pressure on Pelosi is rising, with dozens of Democrats coming out for impeachment in recent months. When asked about Pelosi’s opposition, Rep. llhan Omar (D-MN) on Sunday bragged about her support for impeachment, and suggested that Pelosi would come around.
On CBS’s Face of the Nation, Omar said:
Well, what I have always said was that it wasn’t if we were going to impeach, it is when we were going to impeach. And I think it is okay for some people to have hesitations, for other people to catch up to where some of us have been for a really long time. And I think with Chairman Nadler, he understands that, you know, we have a constitutional duty and we must exercise that constitutional duty.
Other progressives insist Pelosi quietly supports them.
Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, insisted to Politico that Pelosi “doesn’t always want to use the word ‘impeachment’ but believe me, she signed off on every piece of what has been put forward.”