Top congressional Democrats left the door open on Sunday to the impeachment of U.S. President Donald Trump, but said they would first need to complete their own investigations into whether he obstructed justice in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe.
Party leaders have cautioned against impeachment just 18 months before the November 2020 presidential election, although prominent liberals have demanded the start of proceedings to remove Trump from office since the release of a redacted version of Mueller’s report on Thursday.
U.S. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, whose panel would spearhead any impeachment proceedings, said Democrats would press ahead with investigations of Trump in Congress and “see where the facts lead us.””Obstruction of justice, if proven, would be impeachable,” Nadler said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
The redacted version of Mueller’s long-awaited report on Russian interference in the 2016 election, the product of a 22-month investigation, outlined multiple instances where Trump tried to thwart the probe. While it stopped short of concluding Trump had committed a crime, it did not exonerate him.
Mueller also noted that Congress has the power to address whether Trump violated the law, and Democrats said it would be a matter of discussion in the coming weeks.
Democrats, who control the House of Representatives, planned a conference call for Monday afternoon to discuss their next steps in response to the Mueller report. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wrote lawmakers last week to notify them of the call “to discuss this grave matter.”
Nadler on Friday issued a subpoena to the Justice Department to hand over the full, unredacted Mueller report and underlying evidence by May 1. The Justice Department called the request “premature and unnecessary.”
Before drawing any conclusions, Nadler said Democrats want to hear from Mueller and Attorney General William Barr, who is scheduled to testify in early May. Nadler also said he would call former White House counsel Donald McGahn to testify.
we need to,” he said on “Fox News Sunday.”