Pelosi doesn't rule out impeachment, indictment

The Lead political panel discusses.

Posted: Jan 4, 2019 10:00 AM
Updated: Jan 4, 2019 10:00 AM

Democrats were jubilant Thursday as Nancy Pelosi reclaimed the speaker's gavel and the House of Representatives opened the 116th Congress. But you have to wonder how long the kumbaya can last in the Democratic conference, as divisions over style and tactics have already become apparent.

Can Pelosi keep her conference from fracturing the way the Republicans' did after winning a House majority in 2010?

From 2011 through the conclusion of the 115th Congress this week, the majority GOP conference functioned at times like a European-style parliament, with essentially two conservative parties forming a coalition government that frequently split and embarrassed the leadership. Former House Speakers John Boehner and Paul Ryan may have been in charge, but regular fracturing prevented the ruling party from getting the 218 votes it needed to pass, say, a farm bill, raise the debt limit or fund the Department of Homeland Security.

The smaller of the two coalition partners — the Tea Party, or House Freedom Caucus, as it became known — had about 40 members, not enough to do anything on its own but enough to keep the Republican Party from achieving 218 votes if it so chose.

Pelosi will face similar pressures, except she's got a three-way split with about 95 progressives on one flank and 90 "New Democrats" on the other, according to one analysis. Already, some of the new progressives are unhappy with the rules package Pelosi put forward, and many of the New Democrats have no interest in the "Medicare for all" plan championed by the progressives.

The Republicans and Freedom Caucus members were united on most votes but not all; the same will be true for these Democratic factions. The question is whether the differences of opinion will boil over the way they did for Republicans, driving the party's elected leadership crazy.

A major issue Pelosi will have to deal with is whether to impeach President Donald Trump. A number of Democrats want to impeach, even as Pelosi has tried to tamp down such talk. On the day of her swearing-in, Rep. Brad Sherman of California re-introduced articles of impeachment against Trump (he and Reps. Al Green of Texas and Steve Cohen of Tennessee first introduced them in 2017), inserting the topic into the news on a day Pelosi would rather be focused on other things.

More than 6.5 million people have signed a petition to impeach, and the leader of the petition drive -- billionaire liberal Democrat Tom Steyer -- is planning a run for president. Numerous polls from various news organizations last year -- including this network's exit poll from the midterm elections -- showed a vast majority of Democrats wanted Trump impeached.

Well, Democrats won the House and the bloodthirsty partisans aren't just going to forget about what drove them to donate and knock on doors in 2018. This will be a major headache for Pelosi, who has the political acumen to understand that a hyperpartisan impeachment proceeding could easily backfire and cost her party dearly in 2020.

Whether Pelosi can hold her conference together will have more of an effect on 2020's presidential campaign than on policymaking, anyway. With Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his 53-seat majority in the Senate standing ready to block whatever shots the House puts up, the challenge for Pelosi is running an agenda that could be packaged and sold by the Democratic nominee for president.

If she can't control her progressive flank over the next two years, the fractured result could be that voters in middle America come to the same conclusion they did in 2016: The national Democratic Party is just too extreme to be entrusted with the presidency.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 149940

Reported Deaths: 3779
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto10097104
Hinds9984199
Harrison7116110
Jackson6360119
Rankin5588103
Lee509195
Madison4799106
Forrest383186
Jones357688
Lauderdale3496147
Lafayette326051
Washington3179107
Lamar291550
Oktibbeha245462
Bolivar241384
Lowndes237364
Panola222350
Neshoba2206118
Marshall217250
Leflore205590
Pontotoc199928
Monroe198177
Sunflower191655
Lincoln190865
Warren176857
Tate169851
Union167325
Copiah164140
Pike162658
Yazoo156039
Scott154829
Itawamba152935
Pearl River152167
Alcorn151328
Coahoma150543
Simpson148353
Prentiss146230
Adams141950
Grenada140945
Leake134944
Holmes130861
George125524
Tippah125230
Covington123439
Winston122224
Hancock121139
Wayne117923
Marion116646
Attala113034
Tishomingo109442
Chickasaw107632
Newton105629
Tallahatchie97027
Clay91327
Clarke90553
Jasper82822
Stone77014
Walthall76928
Calhoun75513
Montgomery74525
Carroll72415
Lawrence71814
Smith71316
Yalobusha71327
Noxubee71017
Perry67026
Tunica61019
Greene60322
Claiborne58616
Jefferson Davis57017
Amite54014
Humphreys53619
Benton49318
Quitman4927
Webster44314
Kemper43618
Wilkinson39822
Jefferson35211
Franklin3395
Choctaw3357
Sharkey30917
Issaquena1164
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 244993

Reported Deaths: 3572
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson32314500
Mobile19859361
Madison13223148
Tuscaloosa13049154
Montgomery12342236
Shelby1031577
Baldwin873398
Lee775766
Morgan662650
Calhoun6301119
Etowah627666
Marshall627255
Houston525638
DeKalb485536
Cullman439442
Limestone425145
St. Clair419555
Lauderdale407854
Elmore406864
Walker3657111
Talladega351454
Jackson320423
Colbert311942
Blount292240
Autauga273542
Franklin252633
Coffee245415
Dale232654
Dallas226232
Chilton223438
Russell22193
Covington218934
Escambia198331
Chambers176850
Tallapoosa176391
Pike158614
Clarke158419
Marion140236
Winston133023
Lawrence127936
Pickens123518
Geneva12218
Marengo121524
Bibb117917
Barbour117310
Butler116541
Randolph102921
Cherokee102224
Hale97031
Clay91924
Fayette91616
Washington91219
Henry8546
Lowndes79929
Monroe78911
Cleburne77214
Macon73722
Crenshaw71130
Bullock69619
Perry6886
Conecuh68414
Lamar6798
Wilcox63518
Sumter58122
Greene42618
Choctaw42213
Coosa3444
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