House Speaker Nancy Pelosi exclusively assured Fox News on Monday evening that Democrats "all work together," even as House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler made a major push towards impeachment proceedings that she has consistently resisted.
Pelosi's public show of unity belied a simmering fissure in the Democratic Party. At least 135 House members now support an impeachment inquiry -- but many moderate Democrats in swing districts do not.
Nadler's panel announced earlier in the day that it would take up a procedures resolution on Thursday on rules that would govern rules for any impeachment hearings, as it works to determine whether to recommend formal impeachment proceedings. The committee said that the resolution was similar to procedural votes taken at the beginning of the impeachment investigations into Presidents Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton.
Pelosi, meanwhile, was heckled last month in San Francisco for saying Democrats should focus on the 2020 elections, and not trying to take down the president in Congress.
"I think you should characterize it [the resolution] for what it is," Pelosi told Fox News. "It's a continuation of what we have been doing. You know, we all work together on these things."
Earlier Monday, Nadler told Fox News that he also felt that Pelosi's public hesitation on impeachment was unremarkable.
"The speaker has backed us at every point along the way," Nadler said.
Nadler also maintained that he wasn't worried that the public might become confused, and think actual impeachment proceedings have started -- even as he openly called his efforts an "impeachment inquiry."
"It has been an impeachment inquiry and it continues to be," Nadler said. "What we are doing is clear. It has been very clear. It continues to be very clear."
Nadler added establishing procedural rules for impeachment "enables us to move more effectively and quickly.”
Republicans, however, were unsparing in their criticisms of Nadler throughout the day, and urged Democrats to focus on more practical issues like healthcare and trade.
Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., the ranking member on the Judiciary Committee, called Nadler's latest impeachment efforts "pitiful" on "Fox & Friends" Monday, and said their actions have compromised the mission and legitimacy of the House Judiciary Committee.
"[Nadler] is trying to pull a fast one on the American people again. They know they don't have the votes to go for a full, formal impeachment inquiry," he said. "They want to continue to put a false narrative out there... It's really become a pitiful scene."
Collins added: "I just wish the chairman would be the chairman and let's work together, find those ways. We understand we're going to disagree. But quit going after the president."
Fox News' Kelly Phares, Chad Pergram and Joshua Nelson contributed to this report.