‘Shooting with real bullets,’ Democrats change tune on impeachment vote

Rep. Al Green prepared to force third vote on impeaching Trump but has lost some support

An intransigent proponent of impeaching President Donald Trump plans to force his Democratic colleagues to go on record on the issue again this year — after twice doing so last Congress. But the vote tally may look a lot different than in 2017 and 2018 when roughly five dozen Democrats wanted to debate and vote on impeachment.

Democrats, then in the minority, were eager for any forum to debate the president’s alleged crimes since Republicans weren’t investigating them. But now that they’re in the majority and have multiple congressional committees probing Trump, most Democrats want to avoid rushing to judgement or action.

“Now we’re kind of shooting with real bullets here,” Illinois Rep. Jan Schakowsky said.

An ally of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Schakowsky said she for the most part agrees with the California Democrat’s comments to the Washington Post  that impeachment is an issue that will divide the country and that Trump “is not worth it.”

“I want to see Trump gone,” Schakowsky said. “The truth is impeachment in the House of Representatives is not going to make that happen. The Senate is not going to do that. And so what we’ll do is suck up all the air. It’ll all be about impeachment. It won’t happen. … We are likely to have to just win the election in 2020.”

That’s effectively what Pelosi was saying as she told the Post that she’s “not for impeachment” and that Democrats shouldn’t go down that path “unless there’s something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan.”

It’s a high bar to meet, but it’s one the majority of Pelosi’s caucus is willingly agreeing to abide by. There’s one notable exception: Rep. Al Green.

The Texas Democrat said Tuesday in an interview with C-SPAN and later in a conversation with reporters that he plans to file articles of impeachment against Trump as a privileged resolution, which would trigger a two-day time clock in which the House has to consider the matter. Green declined to say when he would take such action, noting that he has an “acid test” for determining the appropriate time but declining to detail it.

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