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Q&A: The Democratic debate over impeaching President Trump

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An increasing number of House Democrats say they want an impeachment inquiry. But most of them say they aren't ready to seek President Donald Trump's removal from office.

Confused? You aren't alone. The two-dozen or so Democrats who support the move are working overtime to explain to the public that they, at this point at least, see impeachment hearings as a route to combat Trump's stonewalling of their investigations. If the House Judiciary Committee opens an impeachment inquiry, they will immediately have better standing with courts as they try to enforce various subpoenas.

Whether voters will understand — or support — that distinction is uncertain. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been cool to the idea, telling rank-and-file members of her caucus in a meeting Wednesday morning that they needed to be patient, yet persistent as they investigate Trump's White House.

A look at what it would mean if Democrats were to open an impeachment inquiry:


Not yet. But the steps they are already taking — broad investigations, subpoenas for administration officials and publicly questioning Trump's leadership — aren't that different from what official impeachment proceedings would look like. The House Judiciary Committee is focused on getting special counsel Robert Mueller's full report and talking to people who were mentioned in........

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