WaPo Mag just published an interview with Speaker Pelosi. Here’s one snippet that is sure to get a lot of attention:
There have been increasing calls, including from some of your members, for impeachment of the president.
I’m not for impeachment. This is news. I’m going to give you some news right now because I haven’t said this to any press person before. But since you asked, and I’ve been thinking about this: Impeachment is so divisive to the country that unless there’s something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan, I don’t think we should go down that path, because it divides the country. And he’s just not worth it.
IIRC, Pelosi had said before that it didn’t make sense to talk about impeachment until the Mueller report comes out. What changed, if anything? Does she know something about the Mueller report, such as that it is going to be withheld from the public or that it doesn’t contain enough clear-cut evidence of the Trump campaign’s conspiracy with Russia to make a convincing case for impeachment?
Is she just facing the political reality that the GOP will carry Trump’s water no matter what the report says? Are the obstructions of justice that have taken place in public just not worth the hassle since the Republicans will never put country before party?
Many Democrats who know that to be true still believe that impeachment proceedings are valuable because the hearings would dominate news coverage and ensure that even folks who don’t follow politics hear the allegations of misconduct and evidence that supports it. There’s some merit to that argument, but taking impeachment off the table (with the caveats Pelosi expressed) doesn’t put a halt to Congressional investigations in any case.
Pelosi is an incredibly skilled politician. Maybe this is how she preempts Republican talking points about “overturning an election” and the metastasizing media narrative about “Democratic overreach” — all without actually changing anything. The hearings will continue, Trump’s corruption and obstruction will be exposed (albeit in a less blockbuster setting), but Trump and his enablers’ whining about impeachment will sound like, well, whining since the Speaker said Trump isn’t worth impeaching.
FWIW, Mayor Pete Buttigieg had a similar take on impeaching Trump during yesterday’s CNN town hall. Here’s the YouTube of the whole thing, which is well worth watching in its entirety — he’s an incredibly impressive candidate, IMO. His comments on impeaching Trump are at about the 33:00 mark.
Buttigieg says, “I would like to see this president and the style of politics he represents sent off through the electoral process — decisively defeated at the ballot box.”
I get that. But losing an election, even in a landslide (which likely won’t happen due to polarization) isn’t enough of a rebuke considering the gravity of Trump’s conduct. He’ll have lowered the bar permanently. What say you?