Nancy Pelosi is usually a shrewd strategist, but is overly concerned that any movement towards impeachment — even just opening an impeachment INQUIRY, not full articles of impeachment being introduced — would cause Trump to claim that impeachment in the House followed by acquittal in the Senate as exoneration, he is going to claim exoneration no matter what happens.
But as Julián Castro pointed out, Trump will also claim that failure to impeach would be an admission by Democrats that even they knew there was no basis.
Belief that the Senate seems unlikely to convict rests on assumptions based on the current climate. Compare with Nixon in 1974: Following a close election win in 1968, Nixon romped to reelection in 1972 carrying 49 states and 61% of the popular vote. Nixon was smart and popular. Trump, who only got 46% of the vote and not even the most votes, is neither. The idea that, less than two years after this roaring landslide, Nixon could be forced out of office to avoid impeachment and certain conviction in the Senate was unimaginable.
What changed was the evidence. What changed was holding public hearings. The hearings did not start with articles of impeachment, which would have quickly failed. They started as impeachment inquiries, in full public view, just to gather and present the facts. And once those facts were gathered and made public, and demonstrated the full extent of Nixon’s crimes, only then were articles of impeachment introduced, passed out of committee and, before they could go to the full House, Republican senators, led by Barry Goldwater, went to Nixon and warned him that he would be convicted with an overwhelming bipartisan vote in the Senate, and it would be less humiliating for him to resign.
May 31, 2017