Speed Reads

Trump Impeachment Watch

House Democrats are now jogging toward impeachment

At least a dozen House Democrats have publicly come out in favor of starting impeachment proceedings against President Trump since former Special Counsel Robert Mueller testified last Wednesday, and with the addition of Reps. Emanuel Cleaver (Mo.) and Dina Titus (Nev.) on Monday, at least 106 House Democrats now back impeachment. That's just a dozen shy of 118 House Democrats, or a majority of the caucus' 235 members, plus Rep. Justin Amash (Mich.), a former Republican.

The new flock of impeachment-backing Democrats, The Hill notes, includes centrists like Rep. Derek Kilmer (Wash.), freshmen who flipped GOP-held districts last year — Reps. Mike Levin (Calif.) and Kim Schrier (Wash.) — and a member of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (Calif.) leadership team, Rep. Katherine Clark (Mass.). Vulnerable Democrats got important and unexpected political cover Sunday when No. 3 Senate Democrat Patty Murray (Wash.) endorsed impeachment hearings; Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), the No. 4 Senate Democrat, followed suit Monday.

Pelosi does not support pursuing impeachment now, though her opposition appears to be softening and on Friday she endorsed an effort by Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (N.Y.) to obtain Mueller's secret grand jury evidence via court order. Nadler explained that "we made clear to the court that we are considering impeachment, along with other options, under our Article I powers." In other words, former White House chief ethics lawyer Richard Painter tweeted Monday, "this is an impeachment inquiry" already.

Still, 218 House votes would be needed to officially launch impeachment proceedings, as well as Pelosi's support, and "Pelosi's resistance to an impeachment inquiry is not likely to be vulnerable to the math of the Democratic Caucus," Politico reports. "My personal view is that he richly deserves impeachment," Nadler told CNN's Jake Tapper on Sunday. "He has done many impeachable offenses. He's violated the law six ways from Sundays. ... But that's not the question. The question is, can we develop enough evidence to put before the American people?"