Impeachment Inquiry - Event Toolkit

Your members of Congress (MoCs) need to hear from you about why they must support an impeachment inquiry now. You can use this toolkit to catch up on our latest tactic ideas and plan your own impeachment inquiry events during August recess (or any other time!).

If there’s one thing Indivisibles know how to do better than just about anyone else, it’s taking advantage of recess (also known as the District Work Period - check the House calendar here) to ask their members of Congress (MoCs) the hard questions on issues that they care about. Whether through town halls, public meet and greets, or District Office visits, recess represents the perfect opportunity to get your MoC on the record about an impeachment inquiry. In fact, the mega-recess, August recess, begins Monday, July 29 and runs until Monday, September 9 and represents a huge opportunity to get your member on the record about impeachment.

Check out our event map to locate your MoC’s town hall events, or start planning your own August recess event or district office visit and register it on the map using the “Impeachment Inquiry” under Event Issue Focus. 

Public pressure of your MoCs during recess works. Over the last two years, Indivisibles have been showing up and speaking out, asking direct questions of their MoCs on the issues that matter most. During the July Fourth recess of 2017 (here’s a great Washington Post piece on that Red, White, and You recess in case you forgot), Indivisibles attended parades and public events across the country and pressured MoCs like Senator Susan Collins to vote no on TrumpCare. It worked. In addition to the millions of media impressions across the country you secured thanks to your creative events, signs at parades, and district office visits, just a few weeks later, TrumpCare was dead for good. 

Now, we’re fighting a very different fight than stopping TrumpCare -- but it’s no less important: urging Democrats to do what’s right, uphold their Constitutional duty, and begin an impeachment inquiry in the House. 

On the heels of successful impeachment events -- like the June 15th day of action and events during the July Fourth recess -- Indivisibles and Indivisible groups are building momentum across the country to take control of the narrative on the issue. Public events are the perfect opportunity to turn up the pressure and show House Democrats that support for impeachment is there. It’s also critical to remind them of the same message that we delivered to them on the first day of the new Congress: Whose House? Our House.

 
 

Why impeachment?

While we know about 80 percent of Indivisibles are in support of beginning an impeachment inquiry (more on our survey results here), and we don’t need to tell you why impeachment is the right thing to do, let’s talk about why this is where we are. 

We need to start an impeachment investigation not just because Trump obstructed justice in the Mueller investigation, but also because he is obstructing Congress’s efforts to conduct oversight of his administration. In over 20 separate investigations, Trump has sought to block requests for testimony, documents, and other materials that could help shed light onto his corruption and cruelty. This goes well beyond “executive privilege,” and into the realm of outright disregard for the checks and balances that define our government.

 
 

Speaker Nancy Pelosi insists that House Democrats are not planning on impeaching Donald Trump—even though she has also said that his obstruction and other efforts to cover up his crimes “could be an impeachable offense,” and that he is an “existential threat to our democracy.” Even after Special Counsel Mueller made his remarks on May 29 emphasizing that accountability for Trump will have to come from Congress, Speaker Pelosi put out a statement saying that “Congress will continue to investigate,” but with no additional details about opening an impeachment inquiry. It’s getting old. 

Let’s be clear: even if he likely won’t be removed from office, opening an impeachment inquiry into Trump is the right thing to do. Trump obstructed justice in the Mueller probe, which should be reason enough for the House to initiate an impeachment inquiry. (It was good enough for the House Judiciary Committee in 1974, when they approved an article of impeachment for obstruction of justice for Nixon’s actions in the Watergate investigation.) If House Democrats truly believe that Trump has committed crimes and is an existential threat to democracy, then the only reasonable response is impeachment -- and yet they delay.

It’s also important to note that impeachment is a Constitutionally-defined process that could further sharpen House Democrats’ investigatory authority. Trump is stonewalling every investigation they launch, which has meant that House Democrats have to go to the courts to force the administration to comply with their subpoenas. By launching an impeachment inquiry, House Democrats would be able to make clear to the courts that they have a “legitimate legislative purpose” for their requests, and they would be able to get access to grand jury materials from the Mueller investigation to see much of what Attorney General Barr redacted from the publicly-released version of the report.

We don’t want to sugarcoat it -- there are reasons impeachment could be a political winner, and reasons it could be a political loser. Given that it’s unclear, Democrats should just do the right thing and open an impeachment inquiry into Trump.

 
 
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Why is it important to show your constituent power on impeachment?

Even though we think her argument is wrong, Speaker Pelosi continues to say that public support for impeachment just isn’t there. Members of Congress who remain on the fence are also leaning on a lack of constituent pressure to justify their spinelessness (the, “I’m just not hearing from my constituents that this is what they want me to do” argument). 

But here’s the thing: as former congressional staffers, we know that the louder you get, the more pressure you apply, and the more news stories you get at home (which will show up in your MoC’s email inbox), the harder it makes it for Pelosi and for your own MoC to ignore the growing drumbeat and the grassroots who took back the House in 2018. 

If we don’t create an overwhelming chorus of “impeachment inquiry now,” MoCs will have more ground to stand on in justifying their inaction -- especially in swing districts and the 43 House seats that flipped from Red to Blue last year. 

 

Planning the Right Impeachment Opportunity

We aren’t calling for any particular type of impeachment event -- depending on whether you are participating as a group or as an individual, we know that you’ll decide what works for you to make the most impact. But keep these six rules of the road in mind and plan something that’s focused on direct pressure of your MoC and face-to-face accountability. 

  1. Focus on your representative. We don’t want you to waste your time -- right now, the most important place to apply pressure is your member of the House of Representatives, not your senators. If they already support impeachment, say thank you. If they’re Democrats who are on the fence, tell them you’re paying attention. And if they’re Republicans who continue to enable Donald Trump, get them on the record.

  2. Plan, or show up to, something public. There are lots of town halls on the map, and if your district has a holiday parade (or three), chances are your MoC will be there. Check our map to see if there’s a public event near you. If not, plan your own and register it here (use the impeachment inquiry event type tag!). We’ll let people nearby know about it and encourage them to attend.

  3. Don’t underestimate a small group of constituents with signs. It doesn’t take a big group for your MoC to take notice at a public event like a parade (the same is true for reporters). Show up with signs (may we suggest these extra great Whose House? Our House signs) and record yourselves asking your MoC whether they support an impeachment inquiry. Get them on the record and post it to social media and send it out to local media (tips on how to do that here).

  4. If there’s no public event, show up to the district office. We know that lots of you are tired of this tactic -- but there’s a reason we keep suggesting it: it works to both get your MoC’s attention in a place you can’t be ignored and provides a great opportunity to get staff on the record, to get photos, and even to get media attention during or after the event. 

  5. Get creative, but keep it simple. From a group of constituents standing in a district office videotaping themselves reading the Oath of Office and broadcasting it on Facebook Live, handing your MoC a freshly-baked (im)peach(ment) pie at a parade, or one person in your group showing up to a town hall in a peach costume, pick a tactic that works for you. All that matters is you show up and ask the right question. 

  6. Alert the media. The media may not be interested in attending your event. But they might be. And, if you get a good photo of anyone in a peach costume or an Indivisible handing a MoC a peach pie, send them a photo release after the event. Consider submitting a huge number of group letters to the editor re: impeachment as a way of covering your OWN event.

Some of our favorite ideas for impeachment events

Any Public Event Birdogging. Birdogging is pretty simple and you only need two people to pull it off. Show up at any public event where your MoC is going to be, like a parade or local fish fry, and take a cell phone video of you (or your fellow Indivisible) asking your MoC whether they’ll support an impeachment inquiry (just like you would if they were brave enough to have a town hall). If they say no, ask why not. When you’re done, upload your video here and we’ll amplify it.

 

Quick Tips

  • Call your MoC’s office and ask for their recess public schedule. Any of these events will do!

  • Google “Name of Your Town” and “Name of Your MoC” and “event.” Lots of local newspapers and online news sites list announcements where your MoC will be over recess. 

  • Check our map for some public events that we already know about. 

  • Watch our video on tips for recording yourself.

  • When you’re done, post your video on social and email it out to a few local reporters.

Oath of Office District Office Visits. When your MoCs were sworn into office, they took an oath to uphold the Constitution. Sometimes, it makes sense that we remind them of this oath. Take a small group to your MoC’s office and record members of your group reading the Oath and demanding that the representative do what’s right and support an impeachment inquiry now (Ezra would kill us if we didn’t tell you to bring an (im)peach(ment) pie for effect). 

Quick Tips

Town halls. This one is pretty self-explanatory. Check to see if your MoC is having a town hall on our map. Show up in a group or individually. Bring a sign demanding an impeachment inquiry now. Ask the question you need to ask and get it on video if possible: “Will you uphold your oath to support and defend the Constitution and support an impeachment inquiry into crimes committed by Donald Trump?”

Quick Tips

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Ready? Let’s do it. Don’t forget to register your events on the map so we can help you recruit, and tag them as Impeachment Inquiry events. Tag us in your favorite moments from your events (on Twitter and Instagram @IndivisibleTeam) and remember: you can find all the latest ways to take action on impeachment at impeach.indivisible.org