The White House has sent to congressional offices a new wave of talking points about the case for impeachment in the event that Democrats win control of the House of Representatives, and to encourage them to look for examples of inappropriate conduct by the Trump administration.
The move, which could mark a sort of clearinghouse of sorts for impeachment talking points, comes despite the mounting belief on the Hill that Democrats will not vote to launch impeachment proceedings — a prospect that appears much further off than when Mr. Trump was elected.
But White House officials did send a memo, provided to the offices by the Office of Management and Budget, with the subject line: “Aides to Congress: Take note of the most questionable executive actions over the past few years.” It listed cases that they believe are impeachable, including Mr. Trump’s decision to terminate a Justice Department employee who had been in the Russia investigation and his decision to relocate the United States embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a contentious decision that won him praise from Israel and a deluge of criticism from many others.
It also highlighted the president’s moves to block regulations issued by the previous administration, his efforts to curtail federal public broadcasting and his decision to reverse a policy that prioritized admissions for immigrants in the country as refugees.
The new draft memo had just two paragraphs. After receiving it, several aides approached reporters, saying that they had requested the document and wanted to alert them to the possibility that the memos might soon start showing up on their desks. One aide refused to answer any questions about the request.
A White House official, who declined to be named because he was not authorized to discuss internal discussions, said the move was intentional: “If this memo becomes public, you’ll see these documents up on the office doors.”
The requests for the memo came, the official said, from congressional staffers who are concerned about the president’s actions — particularly his crackdown on immigration. Mr. Trump’s immigration policies, the official said, are so contentious that people on the Hill are trying to prepare for the possible possibility that Democrats would ramp up a probe of his administration and possibly even impeach him.
“The White House wants everyone to know that impeachment is, in the eyes of some, inevitable,” the official said.
Earlier this year, in the wake of the attorney general’s firing of Mr. Mueller, a White House spokesman acknowledged that the president’s decision could fall into the category of “high crimes and misdemeanors,” a term that could be used to trigger impeachment proceedings. But since then, the White House has shied away from the threat, which many observers have called highly speculative.
Still, some of Mr. Trump’s critics on the Hill believe that it is only a matter of time before Democrats come up with a strategy to move forward on the president’s impeachment. In a recent interview, a Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York, who could be the top Democrat on the panel, said it “would be very surprising and somewhat shocking” if the Democrats did not act.