Freshman Democrats who delivered the House majority are starting to split under impeachment pressure as a number of those in competitive districts are now warming to the idea of launching proceedings against President Donald Trump.
As the administration continues to stonewall requests for documents — not just surrounding special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation but also around oversight probes into other agencies and Trump’s finances — Democrats are growing frustrated. Some freshmen are asking what recourse can be taken other than an impeachment inquiry — a tactic presented by a number of veteran Democratic leaders to strengthen their hand in court.
“We’re just getting closer and closer to a point where we have to do something,” said Rep. Katie Hill (D-Calif.), a freshman member of leadership who beat a GOP incumbent last fall. “Each of us is personally struggling because we see on so many levels ... where he’s committed impeachable offenses.”
The shift by some divides the class of vulnerable members into two camps: those who see a moral and constitutional obligation to say Trump’s conduct is unfit for the presidency despite potential political risks and those who believe impeaching Trump wouldn't result in his removal — and would only hurt Democrats like them.
Until recently, the majority of Democrats in competitive districts have stayed away from calling for impeachment or even commenting on current investigations. But the growing interest in impeachment among several key battleground members could be a sign that the Democratic Caucus as a whole is inching toward taking drastic action to rebuke Trump — over the objections of leadership. Multiple vulnerable Democrats have said privately that refusing to pursue impeachment could hurt their reelection chances by depressing enthusiasm among the party's base.