On Friday, Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) appeared on CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360” to discuss possible impeachment hearings against President Donald Trump.
During the segment, Cooper brought in USA Today columnist Kirsten Powers, who asked Cohen a very pointed question about the possible damage that a hunt for impeachment could do to the Democratic Party:
I’m interested, Congressman, you keep saying there’s a duty to impeach, but does that mean you impeach even if it harms the Democrats, even if it would potentially help re-elect the president? It sounds like you’re saying that you’re willing to live with that, that even if you believed that it would help him get re-elected, that you feel that this is the duty of the Democrats. Am I hearing that correctly?
Well, I think it’s a duty of any Congressperson when you see what’s happened … he’s obstructed justice, not just in the Mueller report, but he’s obstructing justice now by telling everybody to avoid subpoenas, don’t turn over documents. This is just wrong, and we need to stand up … but I don’t think it’ll hurt the Democrats.
I think that the people, when they see the proof and they see the evidence come out and laid out before them, that they will see that this president is lawless, and they will support people that are in favor of his impeachment and be against people that aren’t, and I really think that when the Democrats won in 2018, we won because people wanted to put a check and balance on this president, and they’ll want to put not just a check and balance in 2020, they’ll want to throw him out.
Cooper interjected, noting that impeachment talk could dim the spotlight on the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates, forcing them away from “pocketbook issues” leading up to the election:
An impeachment procedure would suck a lot of the oxygen out of the room for Democratic candidates out on the campaign trail. I mean, they would be talking about that a lot and, you know, those who are concerned about [the] impeachment process believe that would essentially stop them, or prevent or lessen the amount of time they spend talking about pocketbook issues…
Rep. Cohen rebutted Cooper’s assessment, stating that while the Democrats do need to discuss other issues – health care being one example – individuals in his district want to see the president impeached:
When I’m at home – and I know my district is heavily African American. It’s maybe the most African American district in the country – my people just tell me, “Stay on it, stay on it. Don’t give up. Don’t let that man get away with this.” So, I know that’s not representative necessarily of America, but I think a lot of Americans feel that. When you see the polls, college-educated women big time don’t think he’s telling the truth…
Despite the Democrats’ dogged efforts to rally cries of impeachment from voters, polling indicates that the majority/plurality of Americans are against such a measure.
According to a Hill-HarrisX poll from late-May, only 35% of registered voters believed that the Democrats should “begin impeachment proceedings,” while 45% stated that they did not believe impeachment proceedings should be initiated. 20% were “unsure.”
An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll conducted in early-July showed that while “21% of registered voters say that there is enough evidence for Congress to begin impeachment hearings,” a whopping 50% want Congress to “drop the impeachment inquiry.”
Even after Robert Mueller’s testimony, only 37% of voters believe Congress should attempt an impeachment, according to a POLITICO/Morning Consult poll, while 46% disagree. 16% are “undecided.”