Trump may provoke US politicians to impeach him, says senior Democrat
Democrats have confronted the US president and his administration for refusing to co-operate with at least six congressional investigations
Democrats are reluctant to impeach US President Donald Trump but he may provoke it by continuing to obstruct efforts by Congress to oversee his administration, a senior Democrat said on Sunday.
Impeachment by the Democratic-run House would be politically divisive and unlikely to succeed in a Senate run by Republicans, Adam Schiff, chairman of the House intelligence committee, told ABC’s This Week.
“But he may get us there,” Mr Schiff said. “He certainly seems to be trying and maybe this is his perverse way of dividing us more.
"He thinks that’s to his political advantage but it’s certainly not to the country’s advantage.”
Mr Trump stonewalling congressional investigations adds weight to impeachment, Mr Schiff said.
“But you know, part of our reluctance is we are already a bitterly divided country and an impeachment process will divide us further,” he said.
Democrats have confronted Mr Trump and his administration for refusing to co-operate with at least six congressional investigations into his presidency, his family and his business interests.
A House committee on Wednesday approved a measure to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt for refusing to hand over an uncensored copy of the Mueller report on Russian election interference even as Mr Trump used executive privilege to block its disclosure.
Democrats are divided over how far to take their investigations, with some calling for impeachment proceedings and others backing continued investigations.
Republicans have accused Democrats of grandstanding for liberal voters. Some of Mr Trump’s allies believe an impeachment effort could prove unpopular as he seeks re-election in 2020.
But even the Republican-controlled Senate intelligence committee has subpoenaed the president’s son, Donald Trump Jr.
Mr Schiff reiterated his suggestion Sunday that Congress could levy fines of $25,000 a day on administration officials who refuse to co-operate with demands for documents and to appear before congressional investigations.
“Look, I think if you fine someone $25,000 a day until they comply, it gets their attention," Mr Schiff said. "I don’t know how many are going to want to take that risk for Donald Trump."
Updated: May 12, 2019 11:27 PM