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(WASHINGTON) — Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren repeated her calls for impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump on Saturday, saying “this isn’t about politics.”
“For me this isn’t about politics, this is about principle and that’s why I asked the House to start impeachment proceedings.” Warren said Saturday to loud applause from a crowd at a meet and greet at the Weare Town Hall in New Hampshire. “This is about accountability.”
Warren is the first 2020 Democratic candidate to call for impeachment proceedings to begin in such outright terms. In doing so, she distinguished herself from other leaders in her party.
The former Harvard Law School professor and senator from Massachusetts initially announced her conclusions about the 448-page report in a series of tweets Friday afternoon.
Under the U.S. Constitution, impeachment proceedings must begin in the House of Representatives, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi,’s office responded to Warren’s comments on Saturday by urging caution.
“As the Speaker has said repeatedly, one step at a time. We’re focused on getting the full unredacted version of the report and its underlying documents — as well as hearing from Mueller,” ” Pelosi’s spokesperson told ABC News on Saturday. “The report raises more questions and concerns that we believe the American people deserve answers to.”
The Speaker is holding a conference call with House Democrats on Monday to discuss the Mueller report and next steps.
Just before releasing a redacted version of the Mueller report on Thursday, U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr announced that neither collusion nor obstruction of justice took place under the Trump campaign or by the Trump administration.
Special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe, however, “established that the Russian government perceived it would benefit from a Trump presidency and worked to secure that outcome, and that the campaign expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts,” the report said.
The report also documented instances in which the president acted to impede the investigation but concluded that Trump’s efforts were mostly unsuccessful, “largely because the persons who surrounded the President declined to carry out orders or accede to his requests.”
The report, Warren said, “lays out facts showing that a hostile foreign government attacked our 2016 election to help Donald Trump, and Donald Trump welcomed that help. Once elected, Donald Trump obstructed the investigation into that attack.”
“The severity of this misconduct demands that elected officials in both parties set aside political considerations and do their constitutional duty,” Warren continued. “That means the House should initiate impeachment proceedings against the President of the United States.”
Warren finished reading the report late into the night on Thursday after campaign events in Denver and Salt Lake City and decided she wanted to say something, sources familiar with her process said. So, she turned to Twitter.
The severity of this misconduct demands that elected officials in both parties set aside political considerations and do their constitutional duty. That means the House should initiate impeachment proceedings against the President of the United States.
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) April 19, 2019
If members of the House do vote to impeach, the Senate is the body that would vote to remove the President from office.
In a later interview on MSNBC, Warren said she thought the evidence for impeachable offenses in the report was “overwhelming.”
“It is a point of principle and every member of the House and every member of the Senate should be called on to vote: ‘Do you believe that that constitutes an impeachable offense?’ I do believe that the evidence is just overwhelming that Donald Trump has committed these offenses,” Warren said. “And that means we should open proceedings in the House and then the House can take a vote.”
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