Democratic lawmaker: We might have to file articles of impeachment against Trump

US Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-WA

Story highlights

  • "I don't think there's a question of law in terms of knowing that there are significant constitutional impeachable violations that Donald Trump has committed," Rep. Pramila Jayapal said.
  • "It seems to me that that part is actually fairly clear, but impeachment is not just about the law, it's a political process, and in order for it to be successful, the majority party has to sign onto it," she added.

(CNN)Democratic Rep. Pramila Jayapal said last week that President Donald Trump has already committed "significant constitutional impeachable violations" and added that Democrats might have to file articles of impeachment if the Republican majority does not act.

Jayapal made the comments on the "Bill Press Show" on Friday, when asked about House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi downplaying the prospect of impeaching Trump and whether she had signed onto any articles of impeachment.
"I haven't signed onto anything yet, you know I'll say that several of us have been really thinking about how we responsibly address the crisis that we have in front of us,"Jayapal said. "And I think that we have to, I don't think there's a question of law in terms of knowing that there are significant constitutional impeachable violations that Donald Trump has committed.
    "It seems to me that that part is actually fairly clear, but impeachment is not just about the law, it's a political process, and in order for it to be successful, the majority party has to sign onto it," she added. "There's no way to move impeachment proceedings forward without the majority."
    The Washington congresswoman said the issue of impeachment would need to have a goal in mind.
    "And even after Mueller's indictments, (House Judiciary Committee) ranking member (Rep. John) Conyers sent a letter to (House Judiciary Chairman Rep. Bob) Goodlatte saying, 'We really need to be holding hearings on all these things.' We're getting nowhere on it, and so you know, they might drive us to having to file articles," Jayapal said. "But I do think we have to make sure that they don't backfire on us, and that we have a way to either be utilizing them to really show Americans what has happened. They have to be in my mind, very legally sound proof in the wording. I don't think, I think it's a very serious thing."
    In an interview with CNN's Jake Tapper on Sunday, Democratic leader Pelosi said she did not believe impeachment should be a priority for Democrats, saying, "It's not someplace I think we should go."
    Jayapal added in the radio interview Friday that Democrats didn't have to wait for special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation to be complete to file articles of impeachment, but said Democrats would need the weigh the possibility that moving forward on impeachment could backfire on them.
    "I think that there are numerous, and you know, I think that certainly the, you know all of the conflicts of interest, and the Emoluments Clause for sure, I even think that some of the threats around pulling licenses from television stations, I mean the kind of cutting down of the press," she said. "You know but the thing is, impeachment has never been a legal process, it's all about when does a country get to that tipping point, and if you do it too soon, I do think it could backfire. And I don't know where, I go back and forth, let me say I would sleep much better in some ways, if we filed them, but at the same time, I think you know it's not about talking to people like you in the studio, it's about talking to the American people, and talking to the Republicans."