Only four more Democrats joined the call for impeaching President Trump after former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s testimony, underscoring the former FBI director’s lackluster performance that some Democrats hoped would shift public opinion towards impeachment.
Before Mueller’s testimony, 95 Democrats voted to move ahead with a vote on impeachment. After his testimony, four more came out — Reps. Katherine Clark (MA), Peter DeFazio (OR), Lori Trahan (MA), and Lisa Blunt Rochester (DE).
That still leaves 119 more members to change their minds to reach a majority of 218 in the House.
“Mueller testimony brings a small shift toward impeachment,” read a headline from the Boston Globe on Thursday.
The weak showing did not stop House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) from announcing on Friday that he was proceeding with an “impeachment investigation.”
Nadler said he would file a petition in court on Friday to obtain grand jury materials from the special counsel investigation. He also reiterated that he would enforce a subpoena for former White House Counsel Don McGahn, who testified to Mueller in his inquiry into obstruction of justice.
Nadler said, according to Fox News:
The House must have access to all evidence. We are exercising our constitutional authority. We are continuing the investigation of President Trump’s malfeasances, and we will do and consider what we have to consider including whether we should recommend Articles of Impeachment to the House. We may, we may not. It remains to be seen.
Democrats are talking up the investigation as a clear step towards impeachment.
But one Fox News congressional reporter called Nader’s announcement confusing.
Confusing press conference with Judiciary Cmte Dems calling their probe an “impeachment investigation.” But not an “inquiry. During the press conference, Dems were unclear, calling it different things. So what is it? Dems angling to have it both ways. Impeachment w/o impeachment.
— Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) July 26, 2019
Senior Politico legal affairs contributor Josh Gerstein also expressed skepticism over whether it was a real impeachment inquiry:
If you squint real hard maybe
— Josh Gerstein (@joshgerstein) July 26, 2019
Huffington Post‘s Matt Fuller tried to break it down with a car-buying metaphor:
It’s not an impeachment inquiry. It’s a legal justification that they’re *thinking about* opening an impeachment inquiry, and therefore need this information.
If impeachment is buying a car, and an inquiry is showing up to a dealership, Democrats are googling “benefits of cars.”
— Matt Fuller (@MEPFuller) July 26, 2019
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) called the move a clear sign House Democrats are just focused on attacking the president.
“.@RepJerryNadler and the Democrats just made it clear: they’re focused on attacking the President,” he tweeted. “They should focus on fixing the border crisis, lowering the cost of healthcare, and passing the USMCA.”
.@RepJerryNadler and the Democrats just made it clear: they’re focused on attacking the President.
They should focus on fixing the border crisis, lowering the cost of healthcare, and passing the USMCA.
— Rep. Jim Jordan (@Jim_Jordan) July 26, 2019