Pelosi quietly sounding out House Democrats about whether to impeach Trump, officials say

Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been quietly sounding out top allies and lawmakers about whether the time has come to impeach President Trump, a major development as several moderate House Democrats resistant to impeachment suddenly endorsed the extraordinary step of trying to oust the president.

Pelosi, according to multiple senior House Democrats and congressional aides, has been gauging the mood of her caucus members about whether they believe that allegations that Trump pressured a Ukrainian leader to investigate a political foe are a tipping point. She was making calls as late as Monday night, and many leadership aides who once thought Trump’s impeachment was unlikely now say they think it’s almost inevitable.

The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity to speak frankly.

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.

Seven freshman Democrats with previous service in the military, defense and U.S. intelligence said in a Monday night Washington Post op-ed that if the allegations against Trump are true, “we believe these actions represent an impeachable offense.”

“We have devoted our lives to the service and security of our country, and throughout our careers, we have sworn oaths to defend the Constitution of the United States many times over. Now, we join as a unified group to uphold that oath as we enter uncharted waters and face unprecedented allegations against President Trump,” the seven wrote.

Pelosi’s office declined to comment Monday night about her conversations. But an official familiar with her thinking said members have been calling her while she has been consulting with investigative committee chairs and fellow leaders on next steps. Those conversations have focused on how to force disclosure to Congress about a whistleblower’s complaint that alleges Trump’s conversations with Ukraine constituted an “urgent concern” to the nation’s security.

The White House has refused to turn over the document.

Democrats say there’s been a significant shift in the tenor of the discussion following reports that Trump pressured Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate former vice president Joe Biden, the 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, and his family.

Trump on Monday denied that he offered military aid to the Ukraine leader only if the country launched a probe.

The drama is all building toward Thursday, a make-or-break moment in the eyes of House Democratic leaders. Pelosi gave the acting director of national intelligence Joseph Maguire until then to turn over the whistleblower complaint. Under the law, any matter deemed of “urgent concern” is supposed to be shared with Congress. But the Trump administration has refused to hand over the material — despite an inspector general’s determination that it has met that threshold.

Article URL : https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/pelosi-quietly-sounding-out-house-democrats-about-whether-to-impeach-trump-officials-say/2019/09/23/98a33fd8-de5f-11e9-8fd3-d943b4ed57e0_story.html

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