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Will Trump Be Impeached? 2020 Democrats Call for Process

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Before Mueller assumed the lectern, the rest of the presidential hopefuls could be placed in two categories: those pushing for further fact-finding, and those who felt that the act of removing Trump from office should be handled by voters at the polls in 2020. After the Mueller report was released, Sanders called on Congress to continue investigating Russia’s role in the 2016 election. Booker told reporters, “There’s a lot more investigation that should go on,” citing the fact that Democrats hadn’t seen an unredacted version of Mueller’s report and hadn’t heard Mueller testify. Gillibrand, too, wanted a hearing with the special counsel: “I want the American people to get to hear [Mueller’s] words and hear what he says,” she said during a campaign stop in Iowa. (Congress still hasn’t heard from Mueller, and the special counsel said today that he sees no value in testifying.) During a CNN town hall in late April, Buttigieg said that while Trump “deserves impeachment,” the best way to hold the president accountable would be by giving him “an absolute thumping at the ballot box.”

As of today, though, the 2020 field’s closer-to-unified stance on impeachment could provide political cover for some of the more hesitant congressional Democrats to voice their support for taking more serious steps against the president. It also means that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi faces increasing pressure to green-light the proceedings. Even as Pelosi has suggested that Trump is mentally unfit for office, encouraging his family to intervene and praying on his behalf, she has yet to concede that impeachment is the correct path forward for Democrats, which has caused some grumbling in her caucus. Those grumbles will likely increase today: After Mueller’s remarks, Pelosi still wouldn’t budge. In a statement, she thanked Mueller and his team for providing “a record for future action both in the Congress and in the courts regarding the Trump Administration involvement in Russian interference and obstruction of the investigation.” She said that Congress would continue to “investigate and legislate” in order to “secure our democracy,” and rather than urging impeachment, she called on the Senate to pass legislation “to protect our election systems.” Former Vice President Joe Biden, the party’s 2020 front-runner, agreed. In a statement released this afternoon, a Biden spokesperson said, “No one should relish what would certainly be a divisive impeachment process … Vice President Biden will continue to make the case as to why President Trump should not be reelected. That is the surefire way to get him out of office.”)

“I hope and expect this to be the only time that I will speak to you in this manner,” Mueller concluded his remarks. “The report is my testimony.”

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