Democratic congressional leaders have, for the time being, ruled out pursuing impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump.
The decision by Democratic congressional leaders to pass on impeachment seems to be mindful of recent history, especially the Republican-led impeachment effort against President Bill Clinton in 1998.
In announcing her opposition to impeachment, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said simply that Trump “wasn’t worth it.”
Pelosi is sticking to her position despite pressure from liberal activists.
“Impeachment is a divisive issue in our country, and let us see what the facts are, what the law is, and what the behavior is of the president,” Pelosi recently told reporters at the Capitol.8203;
For President Trump, the idea of impeachment is, not surprisingly, a non-starter.
“Well, you can’t impeach somebody that is doing a great job. That is the way I view it,” Trump said when asked about the issue in January.
Recent polls show most voters do not favor impeachment at this time.
Given that the 2020 election cycle is underway, Democrats may prefer to have the voters try to oust Trump during next year’s election, according to George Washington University analyst Matt Dallek.
“By the time impeachment proceedings were even to ramp up, you are talking about the end of 2019 or early 2020,” Dallek told VOA this week. “That creates its own complication because there is another remedy for removing a president and it is called the election.”
Democrats clearly recall what happened to Bill Clinton in 1998. Clinton lied about and tried to cover up his affair with intern Monica Lewinsky, which led to his impeachment by the House. Clinton remained in office after he was acquitted in a trial in the Senate.
Republicans paid a price for the Clinton impeachment, losing five House seats in the 1998 midterm elections.
Some analysts predict that President Trump could face renewed calls for his ouster depending on the findings of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
“I think if the Mueller report indicates some serious wrongdoing by the president and his campaign, it really empowers Democrats to begin deliberating how to move forward with impeachment proceedings,” said Brookings Institution scholar John Hudak.