WASHINGTON — Despite rising pressure from within the House Democratic Caucus to start impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has held firm on her position that the country is not yet ready for impeachment hearings, arguing that it would be too divisive.
In a television interview on Sunday morning, Pelosi told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS that, “I don't think there's anything more divisive we can do than to impeach a President of the United States, and so you have to handle it with great care. It has to be about the truth and the facts to take you to whatever decision has to be there.”
“It should by no means be done politically. We shouldn't impeach politically, or you shouldn't not impeach politically,” she continued. “But you — we must always remember we have a responsibility for oneness because that is the strength of our — that is the strength of our country.”
Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation sparked renewed calls for impeachment among House Democrats, who argued that Mueller’s findings showed that the president committed criminal obstruction of justice during the course of Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
More recently, other Democrats have argued that beginning impeachment proceedings, though not impeachment itself, would help break through the Trump administration’s stonewalling of congressional oversight investigations on the Trump administration.
In what appeared to be a reference to the congressional members like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., who have been more vocal about impeachment, Pelosi noted that “In our caucus, we are very diverse. Our diversity is our strength, but our unity is our power. That's what gives us leverage in the rest of the world that we are the United States of America.”
In a Sunday morning appearance on ABC’s This Week, Ocasio-Cortez argued that the growing amount of evidence justified impeachment, regardless of the political consequences.
“I think every day that passes, the pressure to impeach grows and I think that it's justifiable, I think the evidence continues to come in,” she said.
Ocasio-Cortez argued that impeachment was less an issue of “polls” and more about “doing our jobs.”
“This is about us doing our jobs, and if we're talking about what's going to be a victory for Trump and what's not going to be a victory for Trump, then we are politicizing and we are tainting this process,” she explained.
According to a USA TODAY analysis of congressional statements, over 60 members of Congress have signaled their support for impeachment or the beginning of impeachment proceedings. A majority of members on the House Judiciary Committee, which has jurisdiction over the process, support impeachment. Only one Republican member has signaled his support, Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., who has since drawn a strong primary challenger.
Public opinion polling shows that Americans have not yet reached a consensus on impeachment. An NBC/WSJ poll released on Sunday shows that only 27% of Americans say that there is sufficient evidence to begin impeachment proceedings against Trump now. That's a 10 percentage point increase from May’s poll, but still not a majority. The divide is even starker between Democrats and Republicans. 48% of Democrats want impeachment hearings, but only 6% of Republicans support them.