WASHINGTON — On Sunday morning, on Meet the Press, Democratic Caucus Chair Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y. told host Chuck Todd that House Democrats were still in “fact gathering” mode about impeachment and would not be trying to impeach the president for now.
“The timetable will be guided by the facts, not any sort of political calendar,” Jeffries said.
Jeffries is the fifth-ranking House Democrat and a member of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s leadership team. His comments come as House Democratic leadership has attempted to tamp down a push for impeachment among the caucus. House Democratic leadership fears that impeachment could lead to a backlash against Democrats and distract from their legislative duties.
The left wing of the party disagrees. Later on the show, Rep. Rashida Tlailb, D-Mich., who has introduced articles of impeachment, told Todd that House Democrats were “moving towards” a consensus on impeachment.
“Democrats can sing and dance at the same time, just like Beyonce,” said Jeffries, referring to their ability to govern and investigate simultaneously.
Jeffries acknowledged, though, that “I certainly believe that there is reason to believe there was obstruction of justice,” slamming the “so-called attorney general” for “intentionally” misrepresenting the Mueller report’s conclusions.
Trump has railed against the investigations into his administration, campaign, and finances, saying that he refuses to work with House Democrats on other issues unless the investigations are dropped.
"You probably can’t go down two tracks," said Trump in a news conference last Wednesday. "You can go down the investigation track, or you can go down the investment track."
Jeffries ribbed Trump, saying that Trump preferred to act tough rather than govern.
Donald Trump is “functionally a studio gangster,” said Jeffries.
Contributing: Michael Collins, John Fritze, and Eliza Collins
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Top Democrat: House Democrats are still in 'fact gathering' mode on impeachment