House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Maryland) still doesn’t believe Democrats should move to impeach President Trump despite the Mueller report’s findings.
Speaking to CNN at the U.S. Capitol, Majority Leader Hoyer dismissed questions about whether or not House leadership would consider impeachment proceedings, saying instead that the 2020 election was a better opportunity to get Trump out of the White House.
“[G]oing forward on impeachment is not worthwhile at this point,” Hoyer said. “Very frankly, there is an election in 18 months and the American people will make a judgment.”
“Based on what we have seen to date, going forward on impeachment is not worthwhile at this point. Very frankly, there is an election in 18 months and the American people will make a judgement,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told @DanaBashCNN .
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) April 18, 2019
As far as the American people are concerned, polls remain split on whether or not Americans think Trump should be impeached and removed from office. In December, a poll conducted by Harvard University found that while just 39% of Americans think President Trump should be impeached and ousted from the White House, 60% agreed that he should either be impeached or, at the very least, censured.
A more recent Harvard/Politico poll from January found that just 38% of Americans thought it was “extremely important” that Congress move to impeach Trump. And out of all the priorities Democrats thought were most important for the 116th Congress to tackle, impeaching President Trump ranked just 14th. Majority Leader Hoyer did not indicate whether or not he felt his chamber had the votes to impeach, as Democrats hold a slim majority in the House.
Still, it’s worth noting that a president has been impeached for far less than what Trump is accused of. In the 1990s, former President Bill Clinton was impeached by a Republican-led House of Representatives, though the Senate did not convict him. And while disgraced ex-President Richard Nixon was never actually impeached, he resigned from office when it became apparent that Congress would not only impeach him, but that the Senate would convict him and remove him from office in response to the Watergate scandal and cover-up.
While the Mueller report was just released Thursday and more details are likely to emerge in coming days, the report laid out that Trump ordered those around him to obstruct and/or impede the Mueller probe, either by firing Mueller or by telling then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to make a public statement saying he would direct Mueller to limit the scope of his investigation to merely preventing future election interference.
The special counsel arguably made multiple impeachment referrals in his report, writing that Congress had the power “to prevent a President’s corrupt use of his authority” and that Congress “may apply the obstruction laws to the President’s corrupt exercise of the powers of his office.”
Majority Leader Hoyer has not yet indicated that the House would take any action besides impeachment regarding the allegations in Mueller’s report.
Carl Gibson is a politics contributor for Grit Post. His work has previously been published in The Guardian, The Washington Post, The Houston Chronicle, Al-Jazeera America, and NPR, among others. Follow him on Twitter @crgibs or send him an email at carl at gritpost dot com.