Trump 'impeaching himself through obstruction and ignoring subpoenas'
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has introduced a new concept into the debate over President Donald Trump's actions: "self-impeaching".
As Mr Trump all but goads Democrats into impeachment proceedings, viewing the showdown as potentially valuable for his 2020 re-election campaign, Democrats are trying to show restraint.
Their investigations are both intensifying but also moving slowly as Democrats dig into the special counsel's Trump-Russia report and examine Mr Trump's finances and governance.
The more they push, the more Mr Trump resists, the president making what Ms Pelosi says is his own case for impeachment with his stonewalling of Congress.
"The president is self-impeaching," she told her colleagues last week during a private caucus meeting, echoing comments she also aired in public.
"He's putting out the case against himself. Obstruction, obstruction, obstruction. Ignoring subpoenas and the rest."
She added, "He's doing our work for us, in a certain respect".
There is no actual process for self-impeachment. It's a thought bubble more than a legal term. A pure Pelosi-ism, one that an aide says she coined herself.
But as a device, it's a way for Ms Pelosi to frame the often complicated idea of the White House refusing to engage with Congress in the traditional process of checks and balances.
"Sometimes people act as if it's impeachment or nothing," Ms Pelosi told reporters.
"No, it's not that. It's a path that is producing results and gathering information."
In the aftermath of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, the slow drip of congressional oversight also serves a dual purpose politically.
It allows Democrats to keep impeachment proceedings at bay, despite calls to push ahead by the liberal flank, while stoking questions about Mr Trump going into the 2020 presidential election.
They note the Watergate investigation dragged on two years before the House Judiciary Committee opened impeachment proceedings against President Richard Nixon.
By the time articles of impeachment were drawn up, the third entry was Nixon's obstruction of Congress.
Rather than viewing Mr Mueller's report as the end of the debate, Democrats in Congress have taken his findings as a green light to dig in with their oversight role.
So far, House committees have issued multiple subpoenas for executive branch information, including for an unredacted version of the Mueller report and some million of pages of underlying evidence; for testimony and documents from former White House counsel Don McGahn; for information on Mr Trump's business dealings; and for Mr Trump's tax returns.
Others subpoenas have been issued over the administration's policies on migrant children and on citizenship questions on the census.
"My Democratic colleagues seem to be publicly working through the five stages of grief," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell mused in a floor speech.
The Kentucky Republican scoffed at their "laughable threats of impeachment".
As Mr McConnell declared the "case closed", he noted that the final stage of grief is acceptance.
© Nine Digital Pty Ltd 2019