- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 6, 2019

Top House Democrats said Sunday that impeaching President Trump isn’t at the top of their priority list, even as some of their members say Congress needs to take a stand by formally bringing charges against the president.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that Democrats plan to talk about the issues on which they campaigned, such as health care and infrastructure.

“If and when the time comes for impeachment — it will have to be something that has such a crescendo in a bipartisan way,” Mrs. Pelosi said in an interview with CBS that aired Sunday.

House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer also called talk of impeaching Mr. Trump a “distraction” and likewise said that Democrats are focused on other issues.

Both Mrs. Pelosi and Mr. Hoyer said lawmakers would have to see what special counsel Robert Mueller says in his final report on Russian interference in the 2016 election and any potential involvement by the Trump campaign.

“I don’t think an impeachment process is inevitable,” Mr. Hoyer said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “That’s not what we’re focused on. We’re focused on substantive bills. Now, we got to focus on getting the government opened. That’s our primary, first responsibility.”

Still, Democratic Reps. Brad Sherman of California and Al Green of Texas have already reintroduced articles of impeachment in the new Congress accusing Mr. Trump of obstructing justice in the Russia probe.

And newly elected Rep. Rashida Tlaib, Michigan Democrat, turned heads when she said last week of Mr. Trump: “We’re going to go in there and we’re going to impeach the [m-f expletive].”

Rep. Adam Smith, Washington Democrat and the incoming chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said Sunday he didn’t think Democrats were moving too quickly on the issue.

“The congresswoman represents a constituency that has every right to be angry at President Trump,” Mr. Smith said on ABC’s “This Week.” “People get passionate about their politics, so I don’t think it makes a great deal of difference exactly how she said it.”

Mr. Smith also said, though, that impeachment is “an unbelievably serious undertaking.”

“If the crimes are serious enough, it needs to be done. But we need to be very deliberate, very serious and very careful about how we do this,” he said.

Several freshman Democratic House members likewise said they didn’t have a problem with Ms. Tlaib’s language, but said such talk of impeachment is premature with Mr. Mueller’s investigation still ongoing.

“I’m a former federal prosecutor and we certainly never made charging decisions before the FBI finished their investigation,” Rep. Mikie Sherrill, New Jersey Democrat, said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “I think we’ve got to let Mueller finish his investigation, see what evidence he finds, and then we can make some decisions.”

Rep. Max Rose pointed out on CBS that he’s from Staten Island and has no problem with profanity.

“What I have a problem with, though, is the fact that she is talking about this issue and urging action on this issue before the investigation has been completed,” said Mr. Rose, New York Democrat. “That will just continue this era of hyperpartisanship that we have to move away from.”

For his part, Mr. Trump called the congresswoman’s comments “disgraceful” and said she dishonored herself and her family.

But Ms. Tlaib indicated she doesn’t plan on walking the comments back.

“I will always speak truth to power. #unapologeticallyMe,” she wrote on Twitter on Friday.

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