Former Senate majority leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) is urging House Democrats to open an impeachment inquiry into President Trump — although they should not necessarily impeach him.
“It’s not the right thing to do nothing,” Reid said in an interview with USA Today published Tuesday. “It’s not the right thing to jump into impeachment without doing an inquiry.”
Reid’s remarks come as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is facing greater pressure to begin impeachment proceedings against Trump. Earlier Tuesday, a coalition of more than two dozen liberal groups penned a letter to the speaker urging her to act and warning her that her reticence is “resulting in dangerous inaction that enables this racist and xenophobic president.”
Reid, 79, retired from the Senate in 2017. He previously dismissed the idea of impeaching Trump, calling it a “waste of time” in a March interview with CNN. Reid also told the cable network that even if Democrats did proceed with impeachment, there probably would not be a public backlash “because the vast majority of the people know something’s wrong with Trump.”
The Nevada Democrat discussed the topic again in an interview with the New York Times last month in which he reflected on his “front row” seat during the impeachment of former president Bill Clinton.
“To do it the right way they have to go through these hearings, public in nature, of course,” Reid said of Democrats. “But the one, I repeat, trigger point is if [the White House tries] to not allow people to come forward and testify.”
In his interview with USA Today, Reid acknowledged that “one of the big arguments against the impeachment” is that it could backfire on Democrats and help Republicans in the 2020 election.
But he maintained that opening an inquiry could also help Democrats by shining a light on Trump’s alleged behavior.
“I think that that’s one reason an inquiry should go forward, to find out how the public reacts to this,” he said.