- Sen. Elizabeth Warren – who recently came out in support of impeaching President Donald Trump – said at a Monday night CNN town hall that “there’s no political-convenience exception to the US constitution.”
- Warren pushed back on the notion that pursuing impeachment could distract from other issues and is an unwise political strategy ahead of the 2020 election.
- “Fundamentally – I took an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States, and so did everybody else in the Senate and in the House,” she said.
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Sen. Elizabeth Warren – who recently came out in support of impeaching President Donald Trump – said at a Monday night CNN town hall that “there’s no political-convenience exception to the US constitution” when it comes to impeaching a president.
Warren, one of the 19 Democrats running for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, said she came to the conclusion that Congress should begin impeachment proceedings against Trump after reading the redacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
The Senator from Massachusetts said she came away with three main conclusions from the report: Russia interfered in the 2016 election, the Trump campaign welcomed their help, and that Trump actively tried to interfere with the investigation into the interference.
“Trump took repeated steps aggressively to try to halt the investigation, derail the investigation, push the investigation somewhere else and otherwise keep that investigation from going forward,” Warren said. “If any other human being in this country had done what’s documented in the Mueller report, they would be arrested and put in jail.”
While the report documented extensive contacts between the Trump campaign and Russia, Mueller did not find sufficient evidence to charge Trump or anyone associated with his campaign with criminal conspiracy related to Russia’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 election.
On the question of obstruction, the Mueller report laid out 11 different areas of Trump’s conduct they examined for potential obstruction but said the office could not come to a “traditional prosecutorial decision” as to whether Trump obstructed justice.
In explaining their decision, Mueller’s team cited “difficult issues of law and fact,” including that some of the president’s conduct – like firing Comey – is permitted under his constitutional authority and prevailing DOJ policy that a sitting president cannot be indicted.
The report said that while they could not indict the president on charges of obstruction of justice, they were also unable to “reach a judgment” that “the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice” – leaving the next steps up to Congress to determine whether Trump committed the high crimes and misdemeanours that warrant impeachment.
“If there’s going to be any accountability, that accountability has to come from the Congress,” Warren said. “And the tool that we are given for that accountability is the impeachment process. This is not about politics, this is about principle. This is about what kind of a democracy we have.”
Some Democratic leaders like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff are taking a slower approach, not rejecting the pursuit of impeachment, but wanting to hold more hearings and see the evidence underlying the report before coming to a conclusion.
Warren pushed back on the notion that pursuing impeachment could distract from other issues and is an unwise political strategy ahead of the 2020 election, telling host Anderson Cooper that the special counsel’s office has already done much of the work for them.
“If you’ve actually read the Mueller report, it’s all laid out there,” Warren said. “It’s got the footnotes, it’s got the points, it connects directly to the law. But fundamentally – I took an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States and so did everybody else in the Senate and in the House.”