Democrats in the House of Representatives are planning to roll out a lengthy series of investigations into President Donald Trump’s finances and his administration over the next few months as part of a long-term strategy to remove Trump from office, Axios has reported this morning.
And although impeachment is certainly one option Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democratic leaders are considering, it is not currently their primary focus.
In fact, congressional Democrats have expressed significant worries that if they pursue the impeachment process this could backfire and actually help Donald Trump politically. They fear that if they move too quickly they won’t have the support of the American public.
Thus their plan, as discussed by several Democratic House leaders over the past several weeks, is to move slowly but steadily to hurt Trump’s reputation with a continual series of hearings and investigations.
As Axios said,
“Democrats want to create a large, damning public record of testimony, documents and investigative reports.”
As a result, Democrats plan to “bleed Trump slowly” with lengthy hearings over a period of months. This will produce a public record of Trump’s “high crimes and misdemeanors” that eventually will become impossible for the American people to ignore.
In fact, their ultimate goal is to convince even Trump voters and Republicans in Congress that the president has committed so many crimes that he should no longer be in office.
Currently as many as eight different House committees are pursuing investigations into Trump’s alleged abuse of power, obstruction of justice, conflicts of interest and money laundering. Under Pelosi’s leadership, all committee chairs are working together and coordinating their investigations and hearing schedules to achieve maximum effect.
Pelosi and other top Democrats have said repeatedly that they aren’t anxious to begin impeachment proceedings in the House so long as Republicans control the Senate. Instead, they plan to drain public support for the president by carrying on extended — and extensive — investigations into a wide range of potential crimes allegedly committed by Trump and his family.
“Many in leadership believe impeachment could help Trump get re-elected,” said one source close to House leadership. “(They hope to) pivot the anger to defeating him on the campaign side next year.”
“The last thing they want to do is help Trump like it eventually helped Bill Clinton,” the source added.
Hurting Trump Politically is a Smart Move by Democrats
As the Michael Cohen hearings showed, the nation will pay attention when congressional committees televise the testimony of witnesses, especially when they are discussing the crimes of Donald Trump and his family.
Surprisingly, Trump still has a solid base of support (around 40%) and many of those people still do not believe he did anything wrong.
To move into impeachment now, without support from the GOP, could be a politically disastrous move for Democrats, even though that is what their own rank and file want them to do.
But to hold a series of hearings which show the American people the massive amount of evidence that investigators have gathered to prove Trump’s crimes will be a grand slam home run. And Democratic leaders also correctly believe that holding hearings will buy them time with their own base who are demanding impeachment.
Eventually even the most diehard Trump supporters will be forced to admit that the evidence against him is overwhelming, and he should leave the office that he currently — and illegitimately — holds.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.