Talk of impeachment proceedings is swirling on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., though Democrats remain divided on whether to begin impeachment inquiries.
“This president is obstructing justice and is engaged in a cover-up,” said House speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday. While she had previously been hesitant to mention impeachment, Pelosi said such behavior "could be an impeachable offense.” The top Democrat’s comments came after a White House infrastructure meeting between congressional democrats and President Trump quickly devolved, when the President said he would only discuss infrastructure once investigations ended.
A few dozen House Democrats, including Pennsylvania’s Madeleine Dean and Mary Gay Scanlon, are calling for inquiries to begin. For their part, Western Pennsylvania lawmakers appear to be split along party lines, with Democrats Mike Doyle and Conor Lamb citing congressional oversight responsibilities, while Republicans Mike Kelly and Guy Reschenthaler say Democrats are putting politics over governing.
“Congress has the authority to subpoena any information necessary to carry out its Constitutional oversight responsibilities,” said Doyle in a statement. The Pittsburgh Democrat pointed to the Trump administration’s decision to defy all Congressional subpoenas for information, such as Trump’s tax returns or a request for former White House lawyer Don McGahn to testify before Congress. “If the Administration continues to ignore legitimate subpoenas and files endless appeals in an attempt to run out the clock, we may have little choice but to initiate impeachment proceedings.”
Lamb took a much more moderate stance than Doyle, not mentioning impeachment at all in his statement.
“Our job in Congress is to follow the facts of any investigation wherever they lead,” the statement said. “I don’t believe anyone is above the law. I support the ongoing efforts of several House committees to get the full truth for the American people. I believe the current disputes between the committees and the White House will be resolved in court, and we will get the truth.”
Western Pennsylvania Republicans echoed Trump himself, who has repeatedly called special prosecutor Robert Mueller’s investigation a "witch hunt" that found no collusion or obstruction by the President. The special counsel report did not charge the President but raised questions about obstruction of justice.
“The Mueller report was clear: no collusion, and no obstruction,” U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly said in a statement. “Democrats are still talking about impeachment while they ignore the priorities of the American people. They have constantly focused on politics over sound policy for Americans. While they do that, we’ll be focused on finding solutions to address the crisis at our southern border and fix our crumbling infrastructure. We’ll also push policies to continue the unprecedented economic growth we’ve experienced over the last two years.”
Freshman U.S. Rep. Guy Reschenthaler sits on the House Judiciary Committee, the congressional committee where impeachment proceedings would begin.
“Congressional Democrats’ talk of impeachment and continued harassment of President Trump is incredibly disappointing,” Reschenthaler said in a statement. “Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation, which spanned almost two years and comprised nearly 3,300 subpoenas and search warrants, confirmed there was no collusion with Russia on the part of President Trump or his campaign. Despite these conclusions, Congressional Democrats continue to be distracted with hyper-partisan investigations and impeaching President Trump instead of working for the American people.”