The cast of MSNBC's Morning Joe spent much of Wednesday's show arguing that it would be foolish for Democrats to launch impeachment proceedings against President Trump. Co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Willie Geist, along with most of the panelists, concurred that Democrats would be wise to focus on winning in 2020.
However, not all agreed. Former George W. Bush White House and State Department staffer Elise Jordan, responding to an op-ed from George Mason Law Professor J.W. Verret in The Atlantic entitled, "The Mueller Report Was My Tipping Point: I was a Trump transition staffer, and I’ve seen enough. It’s time for impeachment," said that, "There seems to be a wave of inevitability regarding the impeachment process" With various Democratic presidential candidates declaring their support for impeachment, Jordan declared, "sooner rather than later for the Democrats potential benefit in an election, they have a vested interest in having this happen."
Geist was not convinced, telling Mike Barnicle that, "I've heard from the White House, they're happy to have Democrats talk about impeachment. They think it's a losing effort, they know it is a dead end if it gets to the Republican-controlled Senate."
In the next segment, Scarborough conceded that justice demands there at least be hearings into whether Trump obstructed justice, but told congressional correspondent Kasie Hunt that, "You could name right now ten members of Congress who would lose their races in 2020, that just barely won, that just barely gave Democrats a majority, if Democrats went off chasing impeachment for the next year-and-a-half."
Hunt agreed, "And that's exactly, Joe, what Nancy Pelosi is thinking." She argued that the loudest voices on the left, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, are "never going to elect a Republican." Scarborough concurred, citing Pelosi's "glass of water" comments from her trip to Britain. Hunt then expanded on her point by saying that the presidential candidates pushing impeachment, Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris, are the ones who "need to light up the base of the Democratic Party." The ones who are trying to appeal to the states that used to make up the "blue wall," such as Joe Biden and Amy Klobuchar, are not calling for impeachment and that if Democrats want to win in 2020, the chaos of impeaching Trump is not going to help.
Here is a transcript for the April 24 show:
6:55 AM ET
WILLIE GEIST: Elise, he is a law professor at George Mason University, he was on the pre-transition team as he writes in the piece. And he believes at this point, having read the Mueller report details, he believes the impeachment process should start. A lot of members of Congress, Democratic members of Congress agree with him, Elizabeth Warren agrees with him on the campaign trail. What do you think?
ELISE JORDAN: There seems to be a wave of inevitability regarding the impeachment process. You see so many candidates coming out in favor. Democrats at their leadership level need to figure out what they're going to do. Where is Chuck Schumer on this? Nancy Pelosi has done an in-depth job up until this point of managing her caucus, but I do think that sooner rather than later for the Democrats potential benefit in an election, they have a vested interest in having this happen.
GEIST: But, Mike as Elise said, Mike, and I've heard from the White House, they're happy to have Democrats talk about impeachment. They think it’s a losing effort, they know it is a dead end if it gets to the Republican-controlled Senate. They're happy to let Democrats be mired in that conversation.
MIKE BARNICLE: Well John referenced this earlier, the burden now on Nancy Pelosi is enormous. Because if you read and re-read volume two of the Mueller report, it is all -- the impeachment procedure is all right there in one item, the back and forth with Don McGahn. You don't have to complete the obstruction to be charged with obstruction.
7:14 AM ET
JOE SCARBOROUGH: Again…
KASIE HUNT: Yes
SCARBOROUGH:, I -- listen, I think justice might suggest the president -- there should at least be hearings, but come on, let's talk. There are people saying, “oh, they have to impeach him.” But, Kasie, you could name right now ten members of Congress who would lose their races in 2020, that just barely won, that just barely gave Democrats a majority, if Democrats went off chasing impeachment for the next year and a half.
HUNT: And that's exactly, Joe, what Nancy Pelosi is thinking. The people she knows, her House majority power come from the people you're talking about, and from suburban districts around the country. The three loudest voices that we talk about on the left I in the House: Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, where do they come? They come from Democratic districts, a retirement in Minnesota, John Conyers stepping down in Michigan, Ocasio-Cortez beating Joe Crowley in a district here in New York City that is, I'm sorry, never going to elect a Republican.
SCARBOROUGH: Which by the way. Yeah. By the way, Nancy said, and she said it over in Britain, I think it was, that a glass of water could win AOC's district. That’s not an insult to AOC.
HUNT: Of course not. Winning a primary is tough.
SCARBOROUGH: A glass of water at this point could win as a Republican in my old district. There are just some districts that are not swing districts anymore.
HUNT: And the noise, the loudest voices on impeachment, they're coming from places like that one, like your district but on the other side of the aisle. You know, Pelosi knows this. She knows that's what's at stake in 2020. The presidential candidates are reflecting this, as well. Because where they're coming down on this issue is, you know, illuminating their broader strategies. Where are Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris in the field of Democratic candidates? They need most to light up the base of the Democratic Party. Where are, you know, Amy Klobuchar? I mean Joe Biden is going to get pressed on this when he gets in the race on Thursday. They are looking at the middle of the country, at rebuilding that blue wall. From that perspective, the impeachment conversation is not productive. Now, does oversight matter? I would argue, yes. I think they see that as part of this broader strategy of informing those voters. I mean, Joe, what do the suburban voters not like about Donald Trump? They don't like the chaos. They don't like the tweeting and every sort of additional piece of information that contributes to that broader portrait is going to help them win in 2020.