The groundswell for impeachment among the Democratic base — along with the increasing number of moderate Democrats in Congress who have been pushed over the edge by Donald Trump’s open and defiant lawbreaking — has finally convinced the Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi to abandon her reluctance to declare that impeachment proceedings against the president may begin.
Despite ample evidence of Trump’s open obstruction of justice as revealed in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report, Speaker Pelosi has been until now against beginning an official impeachment in favor of the pre-impeachment investigations currently being held by various House committees including the Judiciary Committee chaired by Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY), the Intelligence Committee led by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), and the Oversight Committee headed by Rep. Elijah Cummings.
Unfortunately, the Trump administration has continued to refuse to cooperate in these probes, telling executive branch officials that they can claim unlimited executive privilege and refuse to honor congressional subpoenas.
Speaker Pelosi is expected to make an official announcement regarding her backing of full impeachment proceedings today at 5 PM Eastern Time after meeting with her Democratic caucus behind closed doors.
“As soon as we have the facts, we’re ready. Now that we have the facts, we’re ready,” Pelosi told a forum hosted by The Atlantic this afternoon. “For later today.”
According to The Washington Post, Pelosi and top Democratic leaders have been meeting privately to discuss creating a select committee to conduct the impeachment as the groundswell among the rank and file members of the House has reached a new crescendo.
The Post reports that the Speaker has discussed the establishment of a special panel to handle the impeachment rather than allowing it to be handled by the House Judiciary Committee, but that no final decision has been made yet.
Until today, the Speaker had been opposed to impeachment as politically damaging to moderate Democrats who had won seats in districts that Trump had carried in the 2016 election and as a move that could potentially threaten the Democratic majority in the House.
Her stance against impeachment was seen as not just politically calculating, but also as practical, particularly in light of the fact that 60 votes would be needed in the Republican-controlled Senate to actually convict the president and remove him from office — a situation that augered a pre-ordained failure to convict Trump on any articles of impeachment that the House may approve.
Yet, even after the revelations of the president’s multiple clear attempts at obstruction of justice as outlined in the report by Speical Counsel Robert Mueller and his team, it took Trump’s latest blatant flouting of the laws barring foreign interference in the U.S. electoral process — with his extortionary withholding of congressionally-approved military aid to Ukraine if they did not help his campaign find dirt on one of his top political opponents — to become the final straw.
Trump’s been under investigation for the exact same allegation since before the beginning of his term as the probe into his dealings with Russia uncovered clear coordination between his 2016 campaign and agents of the Kremlin despite his administration’s failure to cooperate with the investigation. With his compliant Justice Department insisting that a sitting president cannot be indicted no matter how much evidence of criminal activity may exist, impeachment is the only recourse left to hold Trump accountable.
Follow Vinnie Longobardo on Twitter.