But the president, by blocking one of the few areas of potential bipartisan cooperation — infrastructure — seems intent on forcing Democrats to focus their legislative attention on him, as opposed to his policies. House Democrats continue to churn through their policy agenda, passing health care bills, gun control measures and on Wednesday, a bill to fortify the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which the Trump administration has tried to defang.
But those bills are garnering little attention amid the impeachment chatter. Some veteran Pelosi allies said the president’s stance is pushing them toward impeachment.
Representative Emanuel Cleaver II of Missouri, who weeks ago warned against impeachment because it would tear apart the country, said on Wednesday that each new provocation from Mr. Trump had moved him “inch by inch, yard by yard” in that direction.
“I’m not there, but boy, I’m closer than I was,” he said, exiting Wednesday’s meeting.
The one thing that could quickly push Ms. Pelosi toward impeachment, people close to her said, would be a mass defection of new members. That has not happened yet, but several members of the class of 2018 said the speaker was mistaken if she assumed they would oppose impeachment to save their seats next year.
“I ran on many issues, including checks and balances,” said Representative Tom Malinowski, a freshman Democrat from New Jersey. “People expect me to be a leader and do the right thing.”
He said he would have more to say on impeachment in the coming days, but hinted he was close to supporting the effort to open a formal inquiry.
“It’s not an issue that we can or should or will shy away from,” he said. “We have to figure out what the right thing is and do our duty. And if at the end of the day, we do our duty and the Senate doesn’t, then the shame will be on the other side.”