A key Republican ally of President Trump on Sunday said that even as Democrats appear to be hurtling toward impeachment, Mr. Trump should reject his own ultimatum about not working with the opposing party amid ongoing congressional investigations.
Sen. Lindsey Graham said that regardless of what congressional Democrats try to do to the president, Mr. Trump can help himself by showing a willingness to work with them on other issues like infrastructure and health care, despite escalating tensions that exploded into the open last week.
“[If] they say no to you, that will help you. If they say yes and work with you, that will help the country,” Mr. Graham said on “Fox News Sunday.” “So I don’t believe that the idea of working with the Democrats should be taken off the table [because] they’re going too far.”
Mr. Graham also said he wasn’t sure that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi could maintain her current go-slow approach on impeachment proceedings in the long run — a stance that could eventually erode her standing among the Democratic base.
“She’s trying to keep the party intact,” the South Carolina Republican said. “If she goes down the impeachment road, Republicans take back the House, we keep the Senate, President Trump gets reelected. But her job is very much at risk.”
He predicted that ultimately, Mrs. Pelosi is going to be “driven toward impeachment.”
“If she goes down that road, it will be suicide for the Democratic Party,” he said.
Tensions between Mrs. Pelosi and Mr. Trump neared an all-time high last week.
Before heading to a White House meeting on infrastructure, Mrs. Pelosi had said the president was engaged in a “cover-up.” Many Democrats believe Mr. Trump obstructed justice by attempting to curtail Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
The accusation prompted Mr. Trump to tell Democratic leaders that he couldn’t work with them amid various congressional probes from House Democrats.
Later on, Mrs. Pelosi said she wished the president’s family or staff would stage an intervention about his behavior, while Mr. Trump said the speaker had “lost it.”
Sen. Ron Johnson, Wisconsin Republican, said Mr. Trump was simply acknowledging reality when he said he can’t work with Democrats while they’re conducting investigations into him and his administration, which include areas ranging from his personal finances to his administration’s immigration policies.
“I warned voters ahead of the 2018 election that if you put Democrats in charge of the House, all you’re going to be talking about is investigations, talk of impeachment, it won’t be about governing and creating greater prosperity for Americans,” Mr. Johnson said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “And that’s kind of what we’re seeing play out here.”
Still, Democrats are divided about how quickly to move forward with actual impeachment proceedings.
House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries on Sunday said that while there’s reason to believe Mr. Trump did obstruct justice, Democrats want to stay focused on their domestic policy agenda in areas like health care.
“We have a constitutional responsibility to serve as a check and balance on a potentially out of control executive branch,” the New York Democrat said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “But we will not overreach. We will not over-investigate … we’ll proceed, as Speaker Pelosi has eloquently laid out, methodically yet aggressively to get to the truth.”
Meanwhile, Rep. Eric Swalwell said he believes Mr. Trump did collude with the Russians, though Mr. Mueller did not find sufficient evidence to prove such collusion.
But Mr. Swalwell, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, also said he believes in the “rule of law.”
“I was a prosecutor and I know when I go to court, I got to have my pencil sharpened, my subpoenas ready and my witnesses and exhibits ready to go,” the California Democrat said on “Fox News Sunday.” “You only get one shot at this; I want to make sure we get it right.”
Rep. Rashida Tlaib, who has struggled to muster widespread official support from colleagues for her resolution that would lay the groundwork for an impeachment inquiry, nevertheless said Sunday she thinks House Democrats are moving in the direction of impeachment.
“I think it is moving towards that. It’s going to demand it. It already is,” the Michigan Democrat said on “Meet the Press.”
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