A group of House Democrats has come forward at the 11th hour to urge Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to withhold the two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump that Democrats plan to vote on later today.
“The notion of impeaching Trump but holding the articles in the House has gained traction among some on the political left as a way of potentially forcing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to conduct a trial on more favorable terms for Democrats,” The Washington Post reported. “And if no agreement is reached, some have argued, the trial could be delayed indefinitely, denying Trump an expected acquittal.”
The Post notes that the idea has even gained traction inside the party’s far-left wing and that Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) says that he has spoken with three dozen Democrats who “had expressed some level of enthusiasm for the idea of ’rounding out the record and spending the time to do this right.'”
Another Democrat, who spoke on the condition on anonymity, said that Democrats had “serious concern” over whether there would be a “fair trial” in the Senate due to the purely partisan nature of the current impeachment efforts.
Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard did not vote on Wednesday to begin the debate on articles of impeachment and instead announced that she would introduce a resolution to censure Trump.
“I’m taking this time for myself to be able to review everything that’s happened, all the information that’s been put forward,” Gabbard said in South Carolina on Monday. “And just all the factors that go into really trying to figure out what is the best action to take for our country. And for democracy. It’s not a simple or easy decision to make.”
Gabbard is not alone in her desire to censure Trump instead of impeach him as Democrat Rep. Brenda Lawrence (MI) expressed a similar interest last month during a podcast interview.
“You can censure, you don’t have to remove the president,” Lawrence said. “We are so close to an election. I will tell you, sitting here, knowing how divided this country is, I don’t see the value of kicking him out of office, but I do see the value of putting down a marker saying his behavior is not acceptable.”
“I want to censure,” Lawrence continued. “I want it on the record that the House of Representatives did their job and they told this president and any president coming behind him that this is unacceptable behavior and, under our Constitution, we will not allow it.”
Democrats’ partisan impeachment efforts have already started to take a toll on the party as Pelosi lost a member of her party who defected to the Republicans.
New Jersey Democrat Congressman Jeff Van Drew, who has strongly opposed the Democrats’ impeachment efforts, is leaving the party and is becoming a member of the Republican Party after being convinced by Trump and other Republican leaders.
At the start of the month, Van Drew told CNN that Democrats needed to “be careful what [they] wish for” on impeachment because it “is tearing the nation apart.”
In a separate interview, Van Drew said, “My job isn’t really to like or dislike him. My job is to exact as much goodwill and help for my district and for this nation and for this world that I possibly can while he’s president.”
On the issue of impeachment, Van Drew said, “To some folks, that’s reminiscent of what was done to kings and queens many years ago. Everything our country doesn’t stand for.”
Democrat Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN) has announced that he will not vote for impeachment because Trump “has not committed a crime” and predicted that several other Democrats will vote against impeaching Trump.
“And now they’ve spent a year trying to figure out how they can make a case for it. That’s backwards. I just don’t agree with this,” Peterson said. “This is dividing the country for no good reason because he’s not going to be thrown out of office. Why are we doing this?”
This report has been updated to include additional information.