Elizabeth Warren: ‘The House should initiate impeachment proceedings’


Senator Elizabeth Warren posted four tweets today in which she argued that impeachment is the only proper response to the Mueller report:

Earlier today, Ed wrote about Rep. Jerry Nadler saying he wasn’t there yet with regard to impeachment. Yesterday, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said “impeachment is not worthwhile” based on what he’s seen, adding that there was an election in 18 months. Nancy Pelosi also continues to take a go slow approach:

A spokeswoman for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif, responded to Warren’s call for the chamber to start proceedings in statement.

“As the Speaker has said repeatedly, one step at a time. We’re focused on getting the full unredacted version of the report and its underlying documents – as well as hearing from Mueller. The report raises more questions and concerns that we believe the American people deserve answers to,” said the spokeswoman.

So the party leaders in the House seem to be pumping the brakes even as they promise to drag out the investigation in perpetuity. Meanwhile, Warren is running for President and, according to polls, she’s not doing that well. Here’s what CNN had to say about that this week:

Sanders (with his “Medicare for All” push) and Warren with her numerous policy papers are putting policy at the forefront of their campaigns. Yet they both continue to trail Biden, despite near universal name recognition. Warren even trails behind Biden and Sanders in her own state.

The problem for Warren and Sanders is that voters don’t seem to be voting on policy. If they were, Warren and Sanders would probably be in a better position, and Biden would probably be in a worse position, as the Quinnipiac poll indicates.

Voters instead are prizing other qualities, such as leadership. The Quinnipiac poll shows that by a 51% to 38% margin, Democrats and Democratic leaning independents prefer someone they think would be a “great leader” than someone who has “great policy ideas”.

Another way to describe what voters want in a Democratic nominee is this: Less smarts and more guts. If Warren wants to shake up the very early trends, she needs to do something bold.

Other candidates have danced around the issue. Pete Buttigieg said he thought there was evidence to support impeachment but added that he wasn’t in Congress so he’d leave it to others. Rep. Eric Swalwell said he wants to hear from Mueller. Sen. Kamala Harris told Chris Hayes there’s “a conversation to be had on that subject” but also seems to be waiting to hear more. Joe Biden went on record last year saying he hoped Democrats would not impeach Trump. Granted that was before the Mueller report was released but part of Biden’s appeal (to some) is that he’s supposedly a cooler head in a party veering hard left.

All that to say, I think there’s a certain amount of shrewd electoral strategy behind Warren’s decision to come out for impeachment. It increases pressure on House Dems but, as a Senator, she doesn’t actually have to do anything else at the moment. It will make her a leader on this issue, one she knows the base will eat that up. Also, it’s bound to get her on television, which is good for her campaign. She’ll finally have something reporters want to talk about besides that stupid DNA test.

Could this hurt her in a general election if Democrats are eventually seen as too aggressive? Maybe, but Warren knows she has to get there first and right now she’s in third place in her home state.

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