“I think their current stonewalling and obstruction almost compels us to have more than one article – not a laundry list, a small number of clear articles of impeachment, one of which I think will form around obstruction,” said Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.).
Republicans will face their own set of challenges. GOP lawmakers — many of whom have avoided questions over the past two weeks about whether it was appropriate for Trump to solicit foreign assistance for political gain — will be confronted by reporters in the Capitol with the latest revelations in the Ukraine scandal.
While lawmakers were at home with their constituents during the two week recess, Justice Department prosecutors arrested a pair of Giuliani associates who helped dig up dirt on Biden in Ukraine and accused them of campaign finance violations. And Democrats released a trove of text messages between U.S. diplomats who were trying to secure a public commitment from Ukraine that it would look into the Biden family.
The Turkish military attack on Kurdish forces in northern Syria is another crisis for Trump. Republicans are fuming over Trump’s decision to abandon a U.S. ally who offered invaluable aid in the fight against ISIS, a rare public rebuke of Trump by his own party.
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) promised to move quickly on two legislative packages related to Syria. Democrats will move a resolution condemning Trump’s action, a measure that is expected to pass on a party line vote.
But Engel and Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), ranking member on Foreign Affairs, are planning a bipartisan bill to impose economic sanctions on Turkey. Top Republicans believe there will be an “overwhelming vote” on that package. Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) are pushing a similar bill in the Senate.
With even Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) blasting Trump’s move – although McConnell was careful to avoid criticizing Trump by name – the White House moved Monday to try to preempt the congressional backlash by imposing sanctions on Turkey on its own.
“The United States will aggressively use economic sanctions to target those who enable, facilitate, and finance these heinous acts in Syria,” Trump said in a statement. “I am fully prepared to swiftly destroy Turkey’s economy if Turkish leaders continue down this dangerous and destructive path.”
Trump said the U.S. government will target “those who may be involved in serious human rights abuses, obstructing a cease-fire, preventing displaced persons from returning home, forcibly repatriating refugees or threatening the peace, security or stability in Syria.”
Tariffs on Turkish steel imports will be raised by 50 percent, and U.S. negotiators will abandon talks around a $100 bill trade package with Turkey. And Pence on Monday afternoon told reporters he’ll travel to Turkey to “bring violence to an end.”
Trump’s Syria decision has fueled speculation on Capitol Hill about whether the move will alienate Republicans and prod them into supporting impeachment.
Retiring Rep. John Shimkus went so far as to say he no longer supports Trump after he pulled troops from Syria. But the Illinois Republican, however, hasn’t backed the impeachment inquiry — despite saying he was “troubled” by the Ukraine call.