The Slatest

House Democrat Announces Plan to (Deep Breath) Introduce Inquiry Into Investigating Whether to Consider Impeachment

Jackson Lee and Pelosi converse while walking side by side through the Capitol.
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi on Feb. 26. Alex Wong/Getty Images

Eleven days ago, I wrote that House Democrats seemed to be coming to a consensus on a message regarding impeachment—that they don’t want to do it (a nod to polls that say a majority of Americans don’t support the idea), but they might have to if their hand is forced (a nod to the near-daily pace with which the Trump administration pushes the boundaries of its authority).

Well, that consensus has cracked. Multiple outlets are reporting that Nancy Pelosi is facing increasing pressure from progressives inside her caucus—including legislators of some seniority like Rhode Island Rep. David Cicilline—to at least open impeachment proceedings in response to the administration’s increasingly contemptuous attitude toward congressional oversight. Pennsylvania Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon—vice chairwoman of the Judiciary Committee, which would conduct initial impeachment hearing—said Tuesday that she believes the process should begin now.

Into this breach steps Texas Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee with the most milquetoasty parody-of-a-feckless-congressional-Democrat-compromise plan anyone has ever seen:

An inquiry into the authorization of an inquiry to determine to whether to open an inquiry! Wow! We’re gonna need a longer bumper sticker!

Also, this, from the Washington Post, is ridiculous:

During the Monday night leadership meeting, Pelosi spoke about how Democrats’ messaging isn’t breaking through because everyone is talking about corruption, Mueller’s report and impeachment. She bemoaned the fact that last week the investigations were making page one news while the House’s passage of the Equality Act — a bill aimed at ensuring that gay, lesbian and bisexual people are not discriminated against — was on “Page 26.”

Not discriminating against LGBTQ individuals is a worthy cause, but it’s also not one that a Republican-controlled Senate or a presidential administration that includes Mike Pence has any interest in engaging with Democrats on. And it is thus not a cause that is going to be central to the national discourse regardless of whether Democrats choose to address impeachment. Letting Trump off the hook is not going to stop Mitch McConnell from putting all the Democrats’ symbolic initiatives in the bottom of a well!