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Some Democratic voters think impeachment could backfire politically

Democrats pressure Pelosi on impeachment
Democrats pressure Pelosi on impeachment 02:36

As Democrats on Capitol Hill debate whether they should begin impeachment proceedings against President Trump, Democratic voters told CBS News this weekend that they see political risks in such a maneuver. 

At campaign events this weekend for former Vice President Joe Biden in Philadelphia and Sen. Kamala Harris in Los Angeles, dozens of Democrats said they believe impeachment proceedings would only bolster Mr. Trump's re-election chances. 

"I think it would be dumb" to start the impeachment process, Shelby Ferguson, 22, said at Biden's rally. "I don't think it's going to go over well with middle America at all...I think it would hurt us in the 2020 election."

"If he were impeached it would only serve to further strengthen him with his base because they would feel as if they are under assault," Todd Webster, 48, a Biden rally attendee from Yarmouth, Maine, agreed.

This impeachment conversation has loomed over the Democratic House majority since last November's 2018 midterms, and particularly since Special Counsel Robert Muller's report on Russian electoral interference was released last month. But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, along with several other top Democratic lawmakers, have repeatedly poured cold water on the idea

A number of voters at the Harris and Biden rallies said they agreed with Pelosi's assessment. 

"I think I'm going to trust Nancy Pelosi and those people because that know more than me," Elaine Villaverde, a Harris supporter in Los Angeles, said. 

"I would agree with Nancy Pelosi's assessment," Debra Pozio, 61, a Biden supporter, said in Philadelphia. "She says that he is not worth it."

Rachman Bagbay, a rally attendee in Los Angeles, agreed: "Realistically, I don't know how possible [impeachment] is."

Despite the reluctance of party leaders like Pelosi to embrace impeachment, a number of Democratic lawmakers have endorsed the idea. And on Sunday, Michigan Rep. Justin Amash became the first Republican member of Congress to say he favored Mr. Trump's impeachment. 

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren was the first Democratic presidential candidate to call on Congress to begin impeachment proceedings following the release of the Mueller report. Since then, at least six of the 2020 Democratic candidates have called for impeachment outright. 

Seventy percent of Democrats in a NPR/Marist poll from the beginning of May said they believed Muller's findings should trigger impeachment hearings. Forty-five percent of Americans overall support holding impeachments hearings, according to recent Reuters poll

But at the Harris and Biden rallies, rank-and-file Democrats said impeachment would be doomed politically. 

"We don't have the numbers," Marie Wilson, 65, said in Philadelphia, "I don't know why they're doing it because it is a waste of time. If we can't get the impeachment, why do it?"

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