A recent edition of Univision Sunday political affairs show Al Punto proves that much of the impetus behind talk of impeachment still comes from the media and can, at times, be too much even for senior Democrats.
In the exchange below, Univision senior anchor Jorge Ramos uses both question framing and statements from Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) in order to move U.S. Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-NY) to an impeachment-friendly answer:
JORGE RAMOS, SENIOR ANCHOR, UNIVISION: Congresswoman, I’d like to set aside the issue of the children and talk to you about the possibility that President Donald Trump be impeached. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had this to say in that regard:
SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): We do believe that it’s important to follow the facts. We believe that no one is above the law, including the President of the United States, and we believe that the President of the United States is engaged in a cover-up.
RAMOS: Congresswoman, there is certainly no consensus still within the Democratic Party, but I want to ask you if you believe- if you would be in favor of initiating a process to remove President Donald Trump (from office), even though we all know that the Republican-controlled Senate would never support this.
U.S. REP. NYDIA VELAZQUEZ (D-NY): What I believe, and I agree with Nancy Pelosi...the American public, the people of this country, never want to take the step to impeach- to remove a president- without having all the facts. What is important to starting an impeachment process must be that the American people be with us- and the only way that that we will lead the American public to adopt that position is through an exhaustive investigation that shows the People what the facts are, what the actions are. And not to say in the media that the Mueller report talks about 10 times where he obstructed justice, it is that we bring...bring witnesses like Mueller and that this not be something that they read or heard about, but rather that they became spectators to that investigation. Only then will we be able to earn the support of the American people.
Ramos frames the impeachment question here as a performative exercise, given the fact that there is presently no chance of conviction in the Senate, and seems to invite Velazquez to reconsider. But Velazquez, appearing on Al Punto as a member of House leadership, was having none of that. Citing lack of popular support as a rationale for sticking to the Democrats’ existing oversight strategy, Velazquez almost comes off as a voice of reason against Ramos’ gentle but unsubtle push to impeach.
Interestingly, this segment on impeachment was bookended by segments seemingly designed to elicit grievance- namely, questions on child deaths at the border and on the Trump Administration’s hurricane recovery efforts in Puerto Rico. For Al Punto, it indicates a return to hard partisanship after the appearance of balance the week prior. Unfortunately for Univision’s viewers, a return to the norm.