The notorious “squad” of progressive Congresswomen may be hellbent on initiating impeachment proceedings against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, but Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has no desire to spend time or money on the issue — and neither do other prominent Democrats with an eye to 2020.
CNN reports that Pelosi dismissed the possibility of impeaching Kavanaugh and removing him from the bench out of hand Tuesday night, fending off the question of whether she’d place an inquiry into Kavanaugh’s fitness on the Congressional docket with a stern and decisive, “no.”
This is in stark contrast to a number of 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls and several members of Pelosi’s own caucus, who expressed their unqualified support for impeaching the most recent addition to the Supreme Court over the weekend, after the New York Times published an excerpt from a book that accused Kavanaugh of dropping his pants and exposing himself at a college party while at Yale, and then enlisting the help of several friends to rub his penis on female partygoer.
The New York Times was ultimately forced to correct the story, adding that the two reporters responsible for the claims could not corroborate the incident and that the woman their source claimed was sexually assaulted denies that the incident ever happened. Since the account was published, the Times has fallen under intense scrutiny for its editorial decision, particularly as it emerged that both the Times’ news bureau and the Washington Post passed on the “scoop.”
Both Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) suggested that they planned on pursuing an impeachment cause against Kavanaugh. Pressley filed a resolution to pursue an investigation into claims made against Kavanaugh and begin impeachment proceedings on Wednesday.
That investigation would cost time, taxpayer money, and goodwill on the campaign trail, and prominent Democrats aren’t interested in pursuing the cause of impeachment if it means losing the support of voters, even if they personally believe Kavanaugh doesn’t belong on the bench.
Rep. Katie Hill (D-CA) told CNN that she “believes all women,” but doesn’t want to see Democrats suffer in the 2020 presidential election.
“I do think there need to be questions asked about why the FBI had this information and it wasn’t shared,” she told the network Tuesday. “But I will say also that this is one of the most divisive things that happened during the course of the campaign. As a sexual assault survivor, I really could not understand why it was so divisive. … I’m in one of the more liberal leaning swing districts, and still my poll numbers just dropped dramatically because I was so outspoken against him.”
Other prominent Democrats noted that the party needs to be focused on President Donald Trump and his behavior, which is the subject of multiple, ongoing House investigations.
It’s a smart move for Democrats; the Kavanaugh hearings united conservative voters behind Trump, and the administration emerged from Kavanaugh’s Senate confirmation fight with a wider base of support than Trump built during the 2016 election. The Kavanaugh hearings ultimately demonstrated that Democrats would pursue the politics of personal destruction against even qualified candidates for the Supreme Court and Trump’s resolve in the face of such attacks seemed to bring lukewarm Republicans to his side. Resurrecting such attacks could only benefit Trump.
The lack of support within Democratic ranks hasn’t stopped Pressley from pressing forward. The freshman lawmaker submitted her memo on Wednesday and plans to follow through with an investigation.