Apr 22, 2019

House Democratic leaders caution against immediate impeachment hearings

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, (D-Calif.) Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

House Democratic leaders tamped down calls to kick-start impeachment proceedings against President Trump following the release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report last week, telling rank-and-file lawmakers in a call Monday evening they have no plans to immediately pursue impeachment, 3 officials on the call told the Washington Post.

"We can investigate Trump without drafting articles. We aren't going to go faster, we are going to go as fast as the facts take us."
— Speaker Nancy Pelosi

The big picture: Several House Democratic chairmen said on the Sunday morning cable news shows that while impeachment is still on the table, they plan on first gathering all the facts — including by bringing Attorney General Bill Barr and special counsel Mueller before Congress. Earlier on Monday, Pelosi said in a letter to Democrats that there are other ways to hold the president accountable for his "highly unethical and unscrupulous behavior" besides initiating impeachment proceedings.

Last week, House Financial Services Chairwoman Maxine Waters warned that "Congress’ failure to impeach is complacency in the face of the erosion of our democracy and constitutional norms."

  • But during Monday's call, she did not advocate for immediate impeachment, per the Post, which noted Waters "made a point of clarifying that she is not pressuring lawmakers to join her effort."
  • Other committees leaders reportedly said they will continue their string of investigations into the president and his inner circle.

Meanwhile, some House Democrats, — including Rep. Val Demings (D-Fla.) — pushed back against the leadership stance on impeachment, sources told Politico.

  • "We are struggling to justify why we aren’t beginning impeachment proceedings. As a 27-year law enforcement officer, and while I understand we need to see the full report and all supporting documents, I believe we have enough evidence now."

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American farmers are struggling to safely use the roads that cut through their fields; decades of neglect and lack of funding have made the routes dangerous.

The big picture: President Trump has long promised to invest billions in rural infrastructure, and his latest proposal would allocate $1 trillion for such projects. Rural America, where many of Trump's supporters live, would see a large chunk of that money.

South Korea and Italy see spikes in coronavirus cases

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The novel coronavirus continues to spread to more nations, and the U.S. reports a doubling of its confirmed cases to 34 — while noting those are mostly due to repatriated citizens, emphasizing there's no "community spread" yet in the U.S. South Korea's confirmed cases jumped from 204 on Friday to 433 on Saturday, while Italy's case count rose from 3 to 62 as of Saturday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 2,362 people and infected more than 77,000 others, mostly in mainland China. New countries to announce infections recently include Israel, Lebanon and Iran.

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Centrist Democrats beseech 2020 candidates: "Stand up to Bernie" or Trump wins

Bernie Sanders rallies in Las Vegas, Nevada on Feb. 21. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Center-left think tank Third Way urgently called on the Democratic front-runners of the 2020 presidential election to challenge Sen. Bernie Sanders on the South Carolina debate stage on Feb. 25, in a memo provided to Axios' Mike Allen on Saturday.

What they're saying: "At the Las Vegas debate ... you declined to really challenge Senator Sanders. If you repeat this strategy at the South Carolina debate this week, you could hand the nomination to Sanders, likely dooming the Democratic Party — and the nation — to Trump and sweeping down-ballot Republican victories in November."