So far, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been the single biggest obstacle to the Trump White House facing even a shred of accountability. In light of the rapidly snowballing whistleblower scandal, however, a wave of Democrats in Pelosi’s own caucus who’ve held out thus far—the sorts of people whose seats Pelosi has claimed would be at risk if the Democrats were to move forward with an impeachment push—are finally calling for an impeachment inquiry.
The Washington Post reported last night that Pelosi is finally “sounding out” allies on whether it’s time for an impeachment inquiry as more and more comes out about Trump allegedly threatening to pull military aid from the Ukrainian government in order to pressure an investigation of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s son, Hunter. The Post also noted that “many leadership aides who once thought Trump’s impeachment was unlikely now say they think it’s almost inevitable.” So, what’s changed? Per the Post:
Pelosi’s conversations — and reconsideration of her long-held position that impeachment is too divisive — come amid a growing clamor for impeachment that extends beyond the party’s liberal base and many Democratic presidential candidates to moderate lawmakers in competitive House seats.
Remember: Never listen to the base, even if it’s unequivocally right.
About two and a half hours prior to the Post’s story coming out Monday night, a group of seven moderate Democratic freshmen in the House—including Mikie Sherrill of New Jersey and Abigail Spanberger of Virginia, two names you hear a lot whenever there’s a story or column about how Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez doesn’t represent the Democratic Party—published an op-ed in same paper, in which they finally pledged to support an impeachment inquiry. From the op-ed:
The president of the United States may have used his position to pressure a foreign country into investigating a political opponent, and he sought to use U.S. taxpayer dollars as leverage to do it. He allegedly sought to use the very security assistance dollars appropriated by Congress to create stability in the world, to help root out corruption and to protect our national security interests, for his own personal gain. These allegations are stunning, both in the national security threat they pose and the potential corruption they represent. We also know that on Sept. 9, the inspector general for the intelligence community notified Congress of a “credible” and “urgent” whistleblower complaint related to national security and potentially involving these allegations. Despite federal law requiring the disclosure of this complaint to Congress, the administration has blocked its release to Congress.
If these allegations are true, we believe these actions represent an impeachable offense. We do not arrive at this conclusion lightly, and we call on our colleagues in Congress to consider the use of all congressional authorities available to us, including the power of “inherent contempt” and impeachment hearings, to address these new allegations, find the truth and protect our national security.
Those seven weren’t alone. Joining them in calling for an inquiry Monday were Rep. Debbie Dingell, as well as two freshman Democrats from Minnesota, Angie Craig and Dean Phillips. “When there is an abuse of power of this magnitude, it is our responsibility to stand up for what is right,” Craig said in a statement. “This is why I am calling to open impeachment proceedings—immediately, fairly and impartially.” According to NBC News’ count, 151 House Democrats (and independent Rep. Justin Amash, who left the GOP in July) have so far called for an impeachment inquiry.
Only time will tell if Pelosi will, you know, actually do anything. But if more and more Democrats continue to support the push for impeachment, she might not have much of a choice.
Update, 3:18 p.m. ET: Per multiple reports, Pelosi is set to announce the opening of an impeachment inquiry later today.