While it is probably safe to say that abhorrence for President Trump is a universal feeling among Democratic members of Congress, calls for impeachment are not — at least, as of yet.
Yesterday morning, at a weekly meeting of House Democrats, members butted heads over the issue. Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), who distributed draft articles of impeachment to all House members on Monday, was criticized by Democratic leaders.
Both Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) have told Sherman and other members such as Al Green (D-Texas) and Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) to halt their impeachment efforts.
Schumer, in particular, has distanced himself from those calling for impeachment before an investigation has been completed:
My view is we need a thorough investigation and we need to get all the facts and then we’ll come to conclusions. Our step now is to get a thorough investigation.
Pelosi also cautioned against movements towards impeachment without solid evidence:
When that word comes up, I always say to my colleagues in the Congress and my constituents and people across the country, anything you do has to be based on data, evidence, facts. So you can speculate, but it’s gotta be the law and the facts, and how they match up. I think the American people need solid evidence.
Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) accused those calling for impeachment of taking things fast, making an analogy between a sprint and a marathon.
And Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) warned his colleagues, “We need to get a lot more facts before us before you could make a conclusion like that.”
Similarly, Rep. Katherine Clark (D-Mass.) acknowledged how unlikely it would be to impeach Trump since his party controls both Houses. She thinks it is better to focus on mobilizing and registering voters to change the majority in the Houses in 2018.
Impeachment requires the votes of 218 House members, plus the votes of 67 senators to convict. Democrats currently hold just 193 seats in the House and 46 in the Senate. So, in order to impeach the President, Sherman would need the votes of every single Democrat plus 46 Republicans.
Without even the support of his own party’s leaders, Rep. Sherman seems unlikely to secure that many votes anytime soon.
Photo credit: Senate Democrats via Flickr, CC BY 2.0