WASHINGTON – The explosive testimony of Michael D. Cohen this week on the potentially criminal conduct of President Trump has not brought the leaders of the Democratic Democrats Party House to initiate an impeachment proceeding against the President , the highest lawmakers preferring to conduct many inquiries intertwined in the expectation of the results of the investigation of the special advocate. .
Democrats said on Thursday that they intend to explore and disseminate Trump's actions in the context of existing investigations, saying that, in the absence of striking new evidence, a series of lengthy investigations would do more harm to a president. quest for reelection only a partisan dismissal roll the country and energize the Republicans – a thousand cuts on a blow of ax.
"Yes, we have unequivocal evidence that the president has committed a crime at this stage, I think," said New York Representative Jerrold Nadler, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, in an interview. "Do we have unequivocal evidence that he's committed impenetrable offenses?" We still have some way to go. "
Californian President Nancy Pelosi, who has strongly repressed calls for Mr. Trump's indictment, told reporters that the impeachment was "a matter of division in our country" and that she was more concerned by the president's statement that the southern border.
The findings of the special advocate, Robert S. Mueller III, will greatly influence how they proceed, warned senior House officials, but for now, their battle preparations are focused almost exclusively on the discovery of new facts and the challenge of the Department of Justice. access to the evidence gathered by Mr. Mueller and not to the conviction.
Democrat pollsters who once helped gather guidelines to underscore the importance of the special council's investigation are preparing new polls to help legislators refocus the debate on the president's wrongdoing around the possible conclusion of Mr. Mueller, to lay the foundation for an ongoing investigation and to repel attempts by the president's allies to downplay the importance of wrongdoing.
"This should be the last thing members care about," said dismissal Representative Mike Quigley, a Democrat from Illinois who sits on the Intelligence Committee. "You have to be patient and practical. You do not stop a criminal investigation when you're tired of it. You stop when you have learned everything there is to learn.
Resistance to destitution puts leaders at odds with some basic Democratic legislators, liberal activists and a significant number of Democratic voters who believe that there is already sufficient evidence to initiate the impeachment process of the president. . As House investigations progress, Ms. Pelosi and other well-known Democrats will come under increasing pressure to take action against Mr. Trump.
"There are only two more questions left: how big is the corruption and what do you want to do about it?" Said Tom Steyer, the California billionaire who has campaigned for the removal of Mr. Trump and paid millions of dollars to hold town halls and national announcements. put pressure on the Democratic legislators.
Mr. Cohen's testimony only made this message more urgent. He said: "You can not enforce the law and say we will not sue the president, we will not hold him responsible, we will reject the Constitution because that It is politically embarrassing for us because it makes us more difficult in an election. "
Democratic strategists say they still do not see signs that Steyer is influencing the general public and see the indictment as a politically dangerous move that could turn against the party and help Mr. Trump and the Republicans in the elections. next year. The window for opening an imputation inquiry may close quickly. By the 2020 elections, even Democrats will probably say that the American people should decide Mr. Trump's fate at the polls.
But by the fall, while Democratic presidential candidates will be heard in Iowa, the campaign to overthrow the president will be well engaged and Democrats could decide to face M Trump rather than a Mike Pence raised to the presidency. this possibility would be.
The dismissal of Bill Clinton took place just after a mid-term election. Richard M. Nixon resigned more than two years before the next presidential election and was still in office for a second term.
Mr. Nadler, whose committee would be responsible for overseeing the impeachment procedures, has always said that he would not even consider starting an impeachment process without significant support from the Republicans. The Republicans' ferocious attack on Cohen at Wednesday's hearing showed that this did not materialize at this stage.
Legislators, reluctant to dismissal, claim that Democrats would be better served by broadening their investigations of the president's possible ties with Russian interference in the 2016 election, by paying money to silence to women who say they have had relations with Mr. Trump, seeking trade agreements with Russia and the financial benefits that he can draw from his office.
In a sort of reminder of Mr. Cohen's testimony on March 14, the Democrats were already preparing to hold a public hearing with Felix Sater, a long-time business partner with Mr. Trump, the House representative. Adam B. Schiff, Speaker of the House of Representatives. Intelligence Committee, said the hearing would focus on a Trump tower proposal in Moscow.
In the meantime, the Democrats have developed arguments to finally have access to all the evidence gathered by the federal investigators under the leadership of Mr. Mueller.
Mr. Nadler expressed concern that the Justice Department would try to circumvent his policies to not charge a sitting president and share information about unindicted individuals in order to justify the refusal to submit essential evidence to Congress. against Mr. Trump. He and the other Democratic presidents are ready to issue subpoenas and fight in court if need be.
"We all believe in the separation of powers," Nadler said. "If you say that the judiciary can not hold an incumbent president accountable because it can not be charged, Congress must do it. That's the only other that can. "
A true indictment investigation has a particular scope and symbolism and would open the door to Mr. Trump and the Republicans, claiming that he is pursued unjustly by excessive democrats.
After Wednesday's hearing, the UK representative, Maryland Elijah E. Cummings, who headed the Oversight Committee, said the word had only been mentioned by Republicans at the time. the interrogation of Mr. Cohen.
"I want to proceed with great caution," he said. "But is not it interesting, not a person, not a person on our side even mentioned the word impeachment? Not one. Not one. They did it, but not us.
As demonstrated by the audience, Republicans are already trying to use impeachment as a problem against Democrats. They said that the resounding appearance of Mr. Cohen, postponed from beginning to end on television, was a show designed to set the stage for a future impeachment hearing.
"They do not want to reach out because the hope of an indictment is still possible, but they are trying to find an alternative, this endless cycle of investigations," said the representative of Georgia, Doug Collins, High Representative of Georgia. on the judicial committee.
Outside the leadership, other Democrats believe that Mr. Trump's indictment is virtually inevitable as investigations continue.
"I think it will be almost impossible not to fix the problem, so much has been raised and revealed," said Tennessee Democrat representative Steve Cohen, a prominent member of the Judiciary Committee who presented his own articles. . indictment. "These investigations are the precursor of impeachment. I do not see any problem. I think the facts will lead you to the final conclusion that it is necessary. "