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Former Washington Journalist
Contributor on The Bipartisan Press
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The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee is backing up comments made by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, in which Pelosi appeared to shut the door on any attempt to impeach Donald Trump.
“In the absence of very graphic evidence, it would be difficult to get the support in the Senate needed to make an impeachment successful. Again, my feeling is let’s see what Bob Mueller produces,” said Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), head of the House Intelligence Committee, referring to the investigation run by special counsel Robert Mueller, which is looking into any collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign. “The evidence would have to be pretty overwhelming.”
Although the Democratic-controlled House could potentially successfully impeach Trump, to remove him from office would require a supermajority of two-thirds of the Senate. That would require on the order of 20 Republican senators voting for removal, even if all Democratic senators held together and did so. Such vote counting is most likely not realistic in the current political environment.
It was reported this week that Pelosi told The Washington Post Magazine, when asked about Trump’s potential impeachment: “I’m not for impeachment. This is news, I’m going to give you some news right now because I haven’t said this to any press person before, but since you asked and I have been thinking about this, impeachment is so divisive to the country, that unless there’s something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan, I don’t think we should go down that path, because it divides the country. And he’s just not worth it.”
It remains to be seen whether Pelosi suffers any blowback from other House Democrats, as there are some–particularly newer members–who have remained committed to the idea of impeaching Trump.