WASHINGTON – Some Democrats don't want to wait until 2020 to oust President Trump, but with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi now coming out against impeachment, they're not sure what comes next.
Messaging by Democrats in the House of Representatives on impeachment has been clear for quite some time. But after Pelosi went public with her view that it's not worth it, the strategy left some of her members grasping for straws.
Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) said, "I don't know. It’s really hard, she’s a very smart speaker and I’m sure she had reasons for what she said."
Calling the president “ethically and intellectually unfit” for office, Speaker Pelosi told the Washington Post she is quote “not for impeachment.”
Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) said, "The Speaker’s been very consistent on this point that there’s a very high burden to meet before we would be able to move forward successfully on impeachment."
The now-public approach could help insulate Democrats from future criticism if the party does move forward with impeachment.
Cicilline said, "We should never proceed with impeachment for political reasons and we should never avoid moving forward with impeachment for political reasons."
But not all Democrats are gelling with Pelosi’s message. Rep. Al Green (D-TX) vowed, "There will be another vote on impeachment."
Congressman Green intends to bring articles of impeachment to the House floor for a third time – the first with Democrats in the majority.
But Illinois Democrat Rep. Jan Schakowsky says a House vote is futile. "The other thing is, it’s not going to pass the Senate," she said. "If we do impeachment it’s going to suck all the air out of the entire message that we have."
For now, Democrats are taking a wait-and-see approach to ousting President Trump since they're expecting the report on the Russia investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller soon.
"That would be largely driven by the results of the Mueller investigation and the report," Cicilline said.
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham (SC) says he agrees. "When the Mueller report comes out it will be the definitive word on any impropriety by the campaign," he said.
But that could leave Democrats waiting until the next election.
Schakowsky said, "We need to get rid of Donald Trump and I don’t think impeaching in the House is going to do it and so we need to do it by the 2020 election."
And if Mueller’s report doesn’t change the way the wind blows, Democrats may have to adjust their sails.
Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) said, "One could imagine a President who committed a felony and the House simply decided, for the good of the country, it wasn’t an important felony, it was just a mistake, it’s something we can deal with after a presidential term."
After Pelosi's comments, Republicans countered, asking why Democrats would have issued 81 document requests to people associated with President Trump if they're not already planning on impeachment.