Liberal lawmakers and pundits, emboldened by bipartisan outrage over President Trump’s summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, have kicked up calls to pursue impeachment — indicating the issue could fast become the next litmus test for Democratic candidates.
The discussion follows the recent political frenzy over calls to “abolish” Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). That effort briefly served as a similar litmus test in the wake of Trump’s zero-tolerance immigration policy, which led to family separations at the U.S.-Mexico border.
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The GOP-controlled House countered on Wednesday with a vote on a resolution expressing support for ICE, effectively daring Democrats to go on the record with opposition to the agency. The measure passed, with a total of 133 Democratic representatives voting “present” — amounting to a procedural refusal to take a position despite weeks of heated anti-ICE rhetoric from party leaders.
But where abolishing ICE fizzled for now as a progressive cause, the impeachment controversy could have sturdier legs. At the least, it has forced Democratic leaders to confront and carefully manage pressure from the base.
House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., on Tuesday charged that Trump’s remarks in Helsinki, Finland, were “nothing short of treason” and marked a “dark day” in American history.