Here’s today’s 6 pm scoop based on anonymous sources. CNN reports White House attorneys are investigating how impeachment procedures work to prepare for the “distant possibility” that President Trump could face impeachment:
White House officials believe the President has the backing of Republican allies in Congress and that impeachment is not in the cards, according to the people briefed on the legal discussions. Even Democrats have tried to calm impeachment talk out of concern it is premature.
But lawyers in the White House counsel’s office have consulted experts in impeachment during the past week and have begun collecting information on how such proceedings would work, a person briefed on the matter told CNN.
The story says the White House did not comment and also notes that an outside attorney close to the White House counsel’s office “cast doubt” on the claims. Shortly after the story was published an unnamed White House official told a Fox News reporter the story was false:
A White House official tells me that @CNN reporting that WH counsel is looking into impeachment procedures is "FALSE"
— Brooke Singman (@brookefoxnews) May 19, 2017
So there you have it. CNN’s anonymous sources say it’s true and Fox News’ anonymous sources say it isn’t.
We’ve had Democratic members of congress talking about impeachment since January and this week one Democrat even called for it on the House floor. Yesterday the NY Times published a roundup of some of the left’s ongoing demands for impeachment:
Liberals are planning a series of nationwide protests on July 2 known as “Impeachment Marches” to increase the pressure.
“We expect them to call for impeachment,” said Delia Brown, one of the organizers of the march in Los Angeles. “This is now the zeitgeist, it’s the demands of people we’re responding to.”
MoveOn.org, one of the most influential liberal organizing groups, sent an email alert Wednesday suggesting that activists tell lawmakers: “If news reports are true, this is obstruction of justice, and Congress must impeach.”
Simply put, the progressive base wants Trump’s head on a pike. But elected Democrats are sensible enough to know they can’t deliver on that now given that the GOP controls Congress. Here’s the key graph from the Times’ story:
The fear, Democratic officials say, is that they will invite the sort of backlash from their base that Republicans got for overpromising about what was possible while President Barack Obama was in office. They argue that methodically building a case — obtaining and revealing any memos or White House recordings, for example — is the soundest approach if they are to bring Republicans along.
That’s why Democrats are avoiding the I-word for now. They don’t want their own angry base to turn on them for failing to deliver. But you can bet that if it were up to them, Democrats would be pushing to impeach Trump now.
Given these circumstances, the White House probably should be looking into the procedures involved. That wouldn’t show consciousness of guilt, just an awareness that Democrats will leap on this at the first available opportunity.