A rapid-fire string of developments has congressional Democrats putting increased pressure on party brass to launch impeachment proceedings against President Trump, with one rank-and-file lawmaker reportedly saying the president is “raping the country” and others indicating it’s only a matter of time before leadership changes course on the politically fraught issue.
Amid the internal tensions, Speaker Nancy Pelosi called a special meeting of House Democrats for Wednesday morning, where the impeachment issue and other battles are expected to be discussed.
Prior meetings involving Pelosi and top Democrats held Monday evening escalated into heated exchanges, with the party torn over how to address Trump controversies — most recently, the decision to block the former White House counsel from testifying. Democratic leaders, who for the most part have not been publicly in favor of impeachment, are now finding it difficult to maintain their position as calls grow from the ranks to flip that switch.
A senior House Democrat told Fox News late Monday that Pelosi “isn’t going to be able to hold off on impeachment much longer,” and that the speaker may have to change her position “within the next two weeks.”
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., while saying Pelosi is working to bring the party together, suggested Tuesday that politics are the main element preventing members from pressing ahead at this stage.
“Just as impeaching without cause could be construed, and is, politically motivated, choosing to not impeach when there is an abundance of cause could also be construed similarly,” she told reporters.
Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., reportedly confronted Pelosi during a Democratic Steering and Policy Committee meeting as he demanded the president’s impeachment. According to Politico, Cohen said that while former President Bill Clinton was impeached “over sex,” Trump was “raping the country.”
Cohen reportedly suggested Pelosi is worried about politics in her reluctance to proceed, but Pelosi countered, “This isn’t about politics at all. It’s about patriotism.”
Cohen is among the most outspoken Trump critics in Congress. He drew attention by eating fried chicken during a recent House Judiciary Committee hearing as a commentary on Attorney General Bill Barr’s refusal to testify. Cohen referred to the attorney general as “Chicken Barr,” despite Barr having testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee the previous day. Cohen has also called for the House to use its inherent contempt power to throw Barr in the Capitol jail.