Democrats move toward impeaching Trump, with scant grumbling

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House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., standing with other committee Democrats, talks to reporters following the House Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019, on the on the constitutional grounds for the impeachment of President Donald Trump. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

WASHINGTON, DC – House Democrats are charging toward impeaching President Donald Trump but not without pockets of division, as lawmakers who began the summer divided largely rallied Thursday behind Speaker Nancy Pelosi's cry that his actions leave them “no choice but to act.”

The California Democrat's announcement that she was asking committee chairs to begin crafting articles of impeachment hardly staunched grumbling that the effort was risky for swing district lawmakers whose 2018 victories gave the party House control. But the strong consensus among Democrats was that the time had come to plunge forward.

“'There's certainly some anxiety among the more vulnerable members about how this cuts, but a broad acceptance that this moment has found us,” said Rep. Jared Huffman, D-Calif. “It's not something we could avoid.”

Oregon Rep. Kurt Schrader, one of Congress' more moderate Democrats, said testimony at last month's impeachment hearings left it clear that impeachment was the proper move. He said waiting would accomplish nothing because each side's positions have only hardened in recent weeks.

“Back home they're tired of this," said Schrader, who voted against Pelosi's becoming speaker in January but praised her handling of impeachment. “They want us to move on."

That's not to say there weren't dissidents.

Freshman Democratic Rep. Jeff Van Drew, an impeachment skeptic all year, said he remained opposed to the effort unless new evidence emerged. He said that should the Democratic-led House vote to impeach Trump — effectively charge him with offenses, which seems all but certain — the Republican-controlled Senate will refuse to oust him from office. That would let Trump claim vindication and result in “tearing the country apart,” said Van Drew, a freshman whose southern New Jersey district narrowly favored Trump in 2016.

“People are going to be angry at each other. I mean constituents,” said Van Drew, who is one of his party's more endangered lawmakers in next November's elections.