The ground is shifting under Speaker Pelosi’s feet. Freshmen Democrat lawmakers are moving to the dark side as they align themselves with their colleagues calling for impeachment inquiries to begin.
Monday night, the Washington Post published an op-ed signed off on by seven freshman Democrats These lawmakers are noteworthy because they were elected in districts that went for President Trump in 2016. They are part of the Democrat caucus that up until now have gone along with Speaker Pelosi in her decision to hold off on moving toward impeaching the president. As a matter of fact, all but one were very vocally against moving in that direction. They didn’t want to be forced to cast a vote and mire up their re-election campaigns.
Reps. Gil Cisneros of California, Jason Crow of Colorado, Chrissy Houlahan of Pennsylvania, Elaine Luria of Virginia, Mikie Sherrill of New Jersey, Elissa Slotkin of Michigan and Abigail Spanberger of Virginia have a new message. Of those seven, only Crow had previously called for impeachment proceedings to begin. They are all ready to speak up and align themselves with the far left, like the Squad. It’s all because of the Ukraine story. These representatives are military veterans or national security types who look upon the alleged withholding of military aid to Ukraine as a national security risk that President Trump unnecessarily took, thus he is unfit to be president. Rep. Mikie Sherrill, (D-NJ) said on CNN this morning, “The president has crossed a line.” Rep. Jason Crow said, “Our adult lives have been defined by national security. We call on all of our colleagues in both chambers in Congress, in both parties to step up to the plate and make sure we are defending our country.”
Sherrill said they told Pelosi that the op-ed would run in WaPo this morning but it was published online last night when I read it. I could feel the excitement of reporters gleefully tweeting about a “significant development”.
NEW. A significant development — Seven freshman Democrats, all of whom have national security experience, write in an op-ed for the @washingtonpost: These allegations are a threat to all we have sworn to protect https://t.co/C4jydserKe
— Karen Tumulty (@ktumulty) September 24, 2019
These freshmen consider themselves a “close group” as Crow told CNN’s Alisyn Camarota. What neither Crow nor Sherrill admitted, though, to Ms. Camarota is that all but Cisneros were lobbied by a group of liberal veterans in Common Defense. All last week, members of Common Defense were meeting with Democrat members of Congress and their staffs on the question of impeachment. They met with six of those seven — all except Cisneros. The language in the WaPo op-ed is the same as the language found on Common Defense’s website.
Here are two examples:
“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…”
“To uphold and defend our Constitution, Congress must determine whether the president was indeed willing to use his power and withhold security assistance funds to persuade a foreign country to assist him in an upcoming election.”
To be clear, Common Defense is a group of veterans working against President Trump. Their website explains “Common Defense was founded in 2016 by veterans who oppose Trump’s corrupt agenda of hate. Together we will reclaim our democracy and build a truly grassroots movement to fight for our future.”
We empower veterans to stand up for our communities against the rising tide of hate and violence, serve on the front lines for social, economic, and environmental justice, champion a truly equitable and representative democracy and preserve the core American values we swore to uphold and defend.
Historically, right-wing billionaires and politicians have exploited veterans like us as political props. In order to win in 2020 and build a sustainable progressive movement going forward, we must invest in organizing the country’s 6-8 million progressive veterans – and not just by helping elite veterans run for office or appear in television ads.
The majority of American veterans are working class, diverse, heavily located in key swing states and districts, and among the most trusted and persuasive organizers, canvassers, and leaders within our communities. Common Defense is the only organization focused on engaging this critical demographic, which could hold the key to the progressive movement’s long-term success.
Pelosi has held Democrats who are eager for impeachment proceedings back so far but that may be changing. She meets today with leaders in the caucus and seems to be more open to the opening of impeachment inquiries now that the Ukraine story is all over cable news.
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 the Ukrainian president 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.
But an official familiar with her thinking warned that just because she was considering impeachment didn’t mean it would happen right away. The person said the process still needs to play out.
The impeachment dam hasn’t burst yet but it is definitely springing leaks. More moderate Democrats – those not in the Squad or the far left – are feeling more emboldened to push forward with impeachment inquiries, though not necessarily impeachment proceedings. It’s a way for them to continue to move slowly while not jumping all – in for impeachment. All of this, mind you, still over the latest story of corruption that the Democrats are using against President Trump. The Ukraine story is still little more than gossip – details haven’t been brought forward publicly and debate is going on within the administration as to if they should release the complaint or the transcript of the telephone conversation between Trump and Zelensky.
The latest Democrats joining the impeachment chorus have to be conflicted about coming out for it now. Rep. Debbie Dingall, a Democrat from Michigan who is in leadership, now calls for an inquiry after remaining cautious all long. As Rep. Sherrill noted on CNN this morning, most of the voters in her district likely will not agree with her decision. I live in a district that voted to send a Democrat to Congress for the first time ever in 2018. I doubt my district would have enough voter support for impeachment, though.
It is amazing to watch the Democrats toss due process out the window once again. Will this new enthusiasm for impeachment unite conservatives, Republicans, and Independents against the strengthening Democrat tide, as it did during the Kavanaugh hearings? I think it very well may.