Texas Rep. Al Green’s resolution faces long odds, but the vote nevertheless presents a dilemma for impeachment supporters and moderate Democrats alike, as it will put them on the record in what’s likely to be a vote to either kill the resolution or refer it to the Judiciary Committee.
Green is forcing the House to take up his impeachment articles because it’s considered a privileged resolution under the House rules, which means the House has to act on it within two days that the House is in session. Green has twice before introduced such measures against Trump, but Wednesday’s potential vote would be the first under Pelosi’s speakership.
Democratic leadership did not say Wednesday how the House would act on the impeachment resolution. They could vote to table it, which would kill the measure, or they could refer it to the Judiciary Committee, which would not be required to act on it.
“I don’t know what we will do, but we will deal with it on the floor,” Pelosi said Wednesday.
A Democratic source involved in the talks about Green’s resolution said Democratic leaders favor killing the resolution, rather than referring it to the Judiciary Committee.
A final decision has not been made.
And Republicans are expected to support tabling the resolution to show bipartisan opposition to impeaching the President on the grounds laid out in the Green resolution, according to a senior GOP leadership aide. The White House wants a strong vote to kill the resolution, a source familiar with White House thinking said.
Democratic aides say a vote could happen Wednesday evening but an exact time is unclear.
Green has dismissed calls from within his party to hold off on the resolution, which he introduced Tuesday evening, arguing that impeachment should follow Tuesday’s House vote that condemned the President’s racist tweets.
“I should not hold off, we should go forward as expeditiously as possible and we should do so because on yesterday we convicted the President … The condemnation was a conviction. Today we have the opportunity to punish,” Green said a reference to the resolution that passed Tuesday condemning racist language used by the President. “As a result of what we did yesterday, the President suffers no harm, he doesn’t have to pay any fine, he’s not going to lose his job. But today we have the opportunity to punish.”
Democrats have been wrestling with the question of impeachment since taking control of the House, and now more than a third of House Democrats publicly support opening an impeachment inquiry. But Pelosi has resisted those efforts, saying they should not move forward with impeachment unless the public is on their side.
“With all the respect in the world for him, we have six committees that are working on following the facts in terms of any abuse of power, obstruction of justice and the rest that the President may have engaged in,” Pelosi said. “That is the serious path that we are on, not that Mr. Green is not serious, but we’ll deal with that on the floor.”
Green is bringing up the impeachment resolution a week before special counsel Robert Mueller testifies publicly before the House, an event that many impeachment backers say will be key to sway the public — and skeptical lawmakers — on impeachment.
“Our focus should be on making sure that the Mueller hearing goes well,” said House Democratic Caucus Chair Hakeem Jeffries of New York.
Other House Democrats who support beginning an impeachment inquiry — and in some cases moving forward with articles of impeachment — said they would support Green’s measure, even if they didn’t agree with his decision to bring it up now.
“If I thought it was a really good idea I’d have done it myself,” said Rep. Steve Cohen, a Tennessee Democrat who will support Green’s resolution.
“I don’t think this is the wisest moment,” said Rep. Veronica Escobar, a Texas Democrat on the Judiciary Committee. “I mean, believe me, this is something that I wrestle with myself and I think that the president is unfit for office and so I need to think through it, but … we have an important process ahead that we really need to follow.”
But Green said he chose to move forward with his resolution because he thinks Congress should send Trump “a powerful message that this country will not tolerate bigotry, racism, hate, xenophobia, Islamophobia.”
He noted that his impeachment resolution is not connected to Mueller or the findings of his investigation.
“You don’t delay justice. The Mueller hearing has nothing to do with what we’re doing now. The Mueller hearing is all about obstruction, this is about bigotry and racism and that racism that’s been infused into policy,” Green said.
In December 2017 and January 2018, Green also introduced privileged impeachment resolutions, which were both tabbed by the Republican-led House. The resolutions were killed in votes of 364-58 and 355-66, respectively, with a majority of Democrats joining Republicans to defeat them in both cases.
This story has been updated with additional developments Wednesday.
CNN’s Lauren Fox, Ashley Killough and Morgan Rimmer contributed to this report.