In California — the bluest of blue states — calls for the impeachment of President Trump find fertile ground among the state’s Democratic majority.
It was not surprising, therefore, when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s speech in front of the annual convention of the California Democratic Party this morning was interrupted while she was discussing President Trump’s assault on American democracy by loud calls of “Impeach!”
According to an account of the speech on The Hill, Pelosi was discussing Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s detailed reporting of the efforts by the Russian government to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election when the shouts broke out.
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“In his report, special counsel Mueller warned us in the starkest terms that there was an attack on our election and an attack on our democracy,” Pelosi said. “Why won’t the president defend us from this attack?”
“What is the president covering up?” she asked. “We must investigate the president’s welcoming of the assault on our democracy,” Pelosi declared.
At this point, a lone voice began to shout the “I-word” as the president now refers to the constitutional imperative. Other voices quickly joined the chorus until “perhaps a hundred” people were screaming for the House Speaker to begin the formal process of removing Trump from office.
Speaker Pelosi gave the crowd a chance of hope with her words without committing to the immediate action that the real crowd of angry Democrats was demanding.
“This isn’t about politics, it isn’t about partisanship, Democrats versus Republicans, no. It’s about patriotism, it’s about the sanctity of the constitution and it’s about the future of our nation. We will go where the facts lead us. We will insist on the truth. We will build an ironclad case to act,” Pelosi proclaimed.
“President Trump will be held accountable for his actions. In the Congress, in the courts, and in the court of public opinion, we will defend our democracy,” she continued.
By promising to hold the president accountable, Pelosi quelled the calls from the impatient delegates at least temporarily without abandoning her strategy of methodical investigation of the actions of Trump and his administration to build an undeniably solid case against the president that could convince a sufficient number of Senate Republicans to defect from his defence and vote to convict him in the Senate trial that inevitably follows the House’s investigations in the formal impeachment process.
Pelosi outlined her thinking on how the Democrats need to first prepare an inarguable case to convince the American public as a whole of the necessity of impeachment in an appearance on ABC‘s Jimmy Kimmel Live! program on Thursday evening.
“We have a defiance of the Constitution of the United States, and so when we go down this path, we have to be ready, and it has to be clear to the American people, and we have to hope that it’ll be clear to the Republicans in the United States Senate,” the House Speaker said.
With California Democrats joining a majority of party members nationwide in fervently supporting impeachment, the pressure on Speaker Pelosi to move quickly is rapidly increasing.
With impeachment yet to find the support of a majority of non-Democrats, however, she appears to be hoping that further revelations of Trump’s misconduct both during his campaign and while in office will sway enough public sentiment that the support for impeachment will force Republicans to consider their future political viability and vote to punish the president for his well-documented offenses against the Constitution.
The patience of the Democratic base is being tested as they wait for Pelosi’s strategy to produce the results they so ardently desire. The question now becomes how long before that patience wears thin.
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Original reporting by Reid Wilson at The Hill.