U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan says there is a “75 to 80 percent likelihood” that the House will vote on impeaching President Trump by year’s end.
The Town of Vermont Dem told reporters Monday there is “no magic timeline” on the impeachment inquiry. But he said the House hopes to vote before the new year due to other constraints, such as budget proceedings and the 2020 election cycle.
The House Judiciary Committee begins its impeachment hearings on Wednesday, following several weeks of hearings by the House Intelligence Committee.
Pocan said he believes the House will draft multiple articles of impeachment, potentially including high crimes and misdemeanors, bribery and obstruction of justice over Trump’s efforts to block members of his administration from testifying.
He said he doesn’t agree with the argument that Trump’s attempts to coerce the Ukranian president into investigating a political rival weren’t impeachable simply because they ultimately didn’t succeed.
“If I try to rob a bank on the Square here in Madison and botch it because I’m incompetent, that doesn’t mean I don’t get charged with attempted bank robbery,” Pocan said. “He clearly tried to extort Ukraine for political purposes.”
He also said Dems are trying to keep impeachment from being “a political issue.” According to Pocan, Dems were essentially forced into the inquiry to avoid ceding more power to the executive branch.
“If we do nothing, then we’ve set a precedent for every future president that you could do whatever you want and you won’t be accountable,” Pocan said. “So, we have to do this. Whether it has electoral pluses or minuses has to be a secondary thought.”
But Pocan said he’s surprised with most national poll numbers showing slightly less than 50 percent of the public in favor of impeachment and removal of the president. He said the numbers weren’t nearly that high at this point in the impeachment hearings of either former President Richard Nixon or former President Bill Clinton.
Pocan then said he isn’t concerned with the latest Marquette University Law School poll numbers, which showed a dip in Wisconsinites’ support for impeachment to 40 percent from 44 percent previously.
Pocan said the numbers “are within the margin of error” and that he had issues with the way Marquette conducts its polls. He claimed they oversample Republicans to compensate for the 2016 election results where Trump beat Dem candidate Hillary Clinton, even though Marquette polls had him losing the state.
“2016 was historic because we had a 250,000 Dem voter drop-off, and I don’t think you’re ever gonna have that again,” Pocan said. “All things equal to 2016, maybe they’re getting the right results but I don’t think that’s 2020.”