Top House Dem: 'We can move' on impeachment once public on our side

House Majority Whip says public must be educated

By Eli Watkins, CNN
Alex Wong/Getty Images

James Clyburn

WASHINGTON, D.C. - A senior member of Democratic leadership suggested Sunday that the House will eventually begin formal impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump after building public support.

"We think that we have to bring the public along," House Majority Whip James Clyburn said on CNN's "State of the Union."

He continued, "We aren't particularly interested in the Senate. We do believe that if we sufficiently, effectively educate the public, then we will have done our jobs, and we can move on an impeachment vote and it will stand, and maybe it will be what needs to be done to incent the Senate to act."

A CNN Poll conducted by SSRS released earlier Sunday showed Democrats have grown more supportive of impeachment, but that 54% of respondents overall were against it.

Clyburn, a South Carolina Democrat, endorsed the approach of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has pushed back against growing calls from her party to begin the formal procedure for Congress to remove Trump from office.

Asked if he was saying he felt proceedings will eventually begin, Clyburn said that it was "exactly" what he felt and pointed to current investigations being led by congressional committees. Pelosi has backed those investigations in place of moving immediately ahead with impeachment proceedings.

"Why should we get out in front of this process?" Clyburn said. "Why don't we just continue to go along?"

Pelosi said earlier this week that "nothing is off the table" as Congress seeks to gather information in the face of a continued legal battle with the Trump administration for documents and testimony.

Any impeachment effort would likely face a tough path forward in the GOP-controlled Senate, but Clyburn said Sunday they were not "waiting on the Senate."

"We are trying to make sure that we do what is necessary to educate the public," Clyburn said.

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