Key House Democrats are signaling that President Donald Trump's authorization of illegal hush-money payments alone won't be enough to trigger impeachment.
However, they also think the president is a target-rich environment for other probes that could yield far stronger justifications for removing him from office.
According to Politico, Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi has convinced her caucus to focus first on protecting special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation rather that simply jumping on the impeachment bandwagon, on the grounds that Mueller could turn up offenses far more impeachable than illegal hush-money schemes.
"If we’re only talking about payments to porn stars, we shouldn’t overserve the public with a sugary appetizer," Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) tells Politico. "There’s much more alarming conduct out there that we should investigate."
Even Democrats who have previously signaled they were on board with impeaching the president are tapping the brakes to emphasize the need for more investigations as a way to give the public more information about Trump's actions.
Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), who last year supported a resolution to begin impeachment debates, tells Politico that more work needs to be done investigating Trump before Democrats even think of removing him from office.
"You really stand to lose something if you try to move impeachment before you have everything on the table," she says. "We don’t have everything on the table yet."