While the progressive base is urging lawmakers to pursue efforts to impeach President Donald Trump, Democratic lawmakers caution that such rhetoric could backfire. In their view, talks of impeachment are premature and counterproductive to winning back the House in 2018.
On Feb. 20, opponents of Trump took to the streets to observe Presidents Day with protests against the current commander-in-chief. The rallies have been dubbed "Not My Presidents Day."
In Atlanta, Georgia, 600 protesters are riffing on their state's nickname by holding a march titled "ImPEACH Now," USA Today reports.
In town halls during the congressional recess, Democratic lawmakers have been facing repeated calls from their constituents to explore avenues to impeach Trump. Several House Democrats have been openly discussing that impeachment procedures would be possible if they won back the majority in the 2018 midterm election.
Meanwhile, other Democrats are warning that they do not have evidence to initiate impeachment proceedings because investigations into the Trump administration's alleged ties with Russia are just beginning. They also believe that impeachment rhetoric will spur GOP fundraising leading up to 2018, Politico reports.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee has already signaled plans to capitalize on this, sending out an email to donors asserting "No president has EVER endured the level of disrespect shown to President Trump ... the liberal elite are calling for his impeachment ... IN HIS FIRST MONTH."
While Democrats may not want to give the appearance of overreaching in their efforts to blunt the Trump agenda, they are also facing immense pressure from the progressive base to remove the current president.
"You see immense energy from people who want to resist the president," said Democratic Rep. Ted Lieu of California. "And that's affecting the Congress."
On Feb. 2, a survey conducted by Public Policy Polling found that 40 percent of respondents supported impeaching Trump while 48 percent were opposed, The Hill reports.
Following the resignation of Trump's National Security Adviser Michael Flynn after he misled Vice President Mike Pence about his alleged discussion of U.S. sanctions with a Russian ambassador in December 2016, Democrats believe that the Trump campaign's connections with the Russian government could lead to his downfall.
Currently, there is no evidence to support such conclusions. Democrats will have to await the findings of an investigation, led by the Senate Intelligence Committee, into Russia's role in the 2016 presidential election.
"We need to assemble all of the facts, and right now there are a lot of questions about the president's personal, financial and political ties with the Russian government before the election, but also whether there were any assurances made," said Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell of California.
Swalwell advised against discussing impeachment until an impeachable offense is proven.
"Before you can use the 'I' word, you really need to collect all the facts," Swalwell said.