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.

Confirmed Cases: 29684

Reported Deaths: 1103
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds238239
DeSoto148616
Madison126734
Jones110449
Neshoba98171
Lauderdale90079
Rankin88812
Forrest85142
Harrison84210
Scott76215
Copiah59216
Jackson58416
Leake57019
Holmes54441
Wayne53513
Lee53218
Oktibbeha53226
Washington5319
Warren49618
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Leflore48049
Lowndes47212
Lincoln44334
Lamar4407
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Pike40712
Monroe38830
Lafayette3774
Attala35823
Sunflower3467
Newton3389
Covington3345
Panola3256
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Adams29318
Simpson2833
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Marion27011
Tate2709
Chickasaw26918
Claiborne25610
Jasper2566
Winston2546
Noxubee2538
Pearl River24832
Clay24710
Marshall2173
Smith21611
Clarke20524
Coahoma1916
Union1919
Walthall1804
Kemper17714
Lawrence1701
Yalobusha1677
Carroll16411
Itawamba1348
Humphreys1329
Calhoun1284
Tippah12811
Hancock12613
Webster12610
Montgomery1242
Tallahatchie1224
Jefferson Davis1094
Prentiss1023
Greene1018
Jefferson993
Tunica933
Wilkinson929
Amite892
George783
Tishomingo741
Quitman730
Choctaw724
Perry654
Alcorn631
Stone571
Franklin412
Sharkey340
Benton300
Issaquena91
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 41362

Reported Deaths: 983
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson4802152
Montgomery3947103
Mobile3904134
Tuscaloosa218842
Marshall168010
Lee130237
Madison12717
Shelby117623
Morgan10475
Walker90524
Franklin87814
Dallas8689
Elmore86414
Baldwin8289
Etowah70713
DeKalb6945
Butler62328
Chambers61227
Tallapoosa58369
Autauga56012
Russell5190
Unassigned50323
Lauderdale4736
Limestone4660
Lowndes46321
Houston4614
Cullman4354
Pike4175
Colbert3836
Coffee3702
Bullock3679
St. Clair3472
Barbour3452
Covington3437
Escambia3326
Calhoun3225
Hale30621
Marengo30011
Talladega3007
Wilcox2898
Sumter28412
Clarke2726
Dale2680
Jackson2632
Winston2463
Monroe2312
Chilton2282
Blount2261
Pickens2226
Marion21413
Randolph2019
Conecuh1977
Choctaw19512
Bibb1861
Greene1838
Macon1819
Perry1621
Henry1313
Crenshaw1253
Lawrence1050
Washington1047
Cherokee857
Geneva780
Lamar751
Fayette671
Clay622
Coosa581
Cleburne361
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