House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other top Democrats argued last week about including a third article of impeachment against President Donald Trump concerning obstruction of justice tied to special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, but decided in the end that the charges, which the speaker feared would have led to defeat, would have been too much of a stretch.
The New York Times, citing people close to Pelosi, reported Tuesday that the California Democrat was reluctant to move forward on the Mueller-related charges, as that case was about events from the past and did not unite the Democratic caucus, particularly moderate freshman lawmakers.
"You make choices and people have different opinions and at the end, you come up with a recommendation," Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., said on Tuesday. "When you come to [a] consensus it doesn't mean that initially, everybody had the same idea."
On one side of the debate, Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., who chairs the House Judiciary Committee, made the case that there should be three articles of impeachment against Trump, including the Mueller-related charge.
On the other side, Ways and Means Committee chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass., argued in favor of two articles. Pelosi, in the end, made the call to hand down charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, leaving the Mueller matter out.
The discussions spotlight the continuing division within Democrats concerning impeaching Trump. As late as Monday, centrist Democrats met to discuss censuring Trump rather than impeaching him, but they quickly ruled out the idea.
According to the Times' sources, the meeting in Pelosi's office centered around Nadler's argument that more broad charges should be placed against Trump. Engel, Oversight and Reform chairwoman Carolyn Maloney, and Financial Services chairwoman Maxine Waters all agreed with him.
Neal argued that only the strongest cases should be presented, out of fear of repeating the errors that were made in 1998 when Republicans proposed four articles of impeachment against then-President Bill Clinton.
Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff, meanwhile, said the Ukraine charges were more urgent and shouldn't be bogged down over the Mueller arguments.
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