- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 16, 2017

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer on Tuesday accused President Trump of eroding confidence in the U.S. government both at home and abroad but stopped well short of calling for impeachment.

Mr. Hoyer, Maryland Democrat, joined House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi in saying that Democrats mulling Mr. Trump’s ouster must justify it with evidence.

“We need to have the facts,” he said. “That’s why we need to do an in-depth investigation.”

Rep. Al Green, Texas Democrat, called for impeachment Monday, saying the firing of FBI Director James B. Comey last week was an attempt to intimidate and obstruct the bureau’s probe into potential illicit connections between Trump campaign figures and the Russian government. Other Democrats have been floating the idea of impeachment since Mr. Trump’s presidency began, but were emboldened by Mr. Comey’s firing.

Then, the Washington Post reported Monday that Mr. Trump gave information designated at “code word” level, meaning beyond top secret, during a meeting with Russia’s the foreign minister. The Post said U.S. intelligence agencies were scrambling to do damage control afterward.

The report only ratcheted up Democratic pressure on Mr. Trump and his congressional allies, though Mr. Hoyer preached caution, saying impeachment was a serious matter.

“It ought not to be taken lightly. It ought not to be taken politically,” he said.

Mr. Hoyer said the best was to delve into Russian affair is through a special investigative commission, akin to the one that probe the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. He said he is not a fan of special prosecutors, though he would be open to one as a secondary option.

“We need to go from expressing concern to taking action,” he said.

Mr. Hoyer trained much of his criticism at GOP leaders, including Speaker Paul D. Ryan, who during the campaign said Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton shouldn’t receive classified briefings because her use of private email at the State Department put sensitive information at risk.

“I have yet to see his observation on whether or not President Trump should be given classified information,” Mr. Hoyer said.

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