A high-ranking Democrat broke with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Monday, saying he supports impeaching President Donald Trump and believes impeachment proceedings are inevitable.
“To me it’s not a question of ‘whether,’ it’s a question of ‘when,’ and probably right now is not the right time, but I think at some point it’s going to be inevitable,” Rep. John Yarmuth told CNN’s Erin Burnett on “Erin Burnett OutFront.”
The comments put the Kentucky Democrat, who’s the chairman of the House Budget Committee, at odds with Pelosi, who said she does not currently support impeaching Trump even though she believes he is unfit to be President, according to a Washington Post magazine interview published Monday. The issue has divided congressional Democrats.
“I’m not for impeachment,” the California Democrat said, adding, “Impeachment is so divisive to the country that unless there’s something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan, I don’t think we should go down that path, because it divides the country. And he’s just not worth it.”
Yarmuth said there is “validity” to Pelosi’s point, “and I respect that, and ultimately it’s going to be her call.” But, he said, “I believe that the impeachment power is in the Constitution for a reason, and if we don’t use it, then it becomes meaningless, particularly when you have a President who has committed crimes while in office, who has abused the power of his office, and many other reasons why I think he’s committed impeachable offenses.”
The congressman said, “The process, actually, probably has begun with the investigations that the Judiciary Committee has initiated, so I think we’re actually on a course.”
The House Judiciary Committee announced last week a sweeping investigation into the President’s administration, businesses, campaign and transition. The investigation would lay the groundwork for impeachment proceedings should Democrats pursue that avenue.
Yarmuth said he is not sure if there are currently enough Democrats to vote for impeachment. He doesn’t think impeachment can be a “political calculation,” but has to be instead a “recognition of constitutional responsibility.”
The congressman argued that the multiple investigations into the President – including special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe – need to run their course in order to have all the information available before initiating the process.