Friday July 3rd, 2020 5:16AM

Tension emerges between Congress, 2020 Dems on impeachment

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

WASHINGTON (AP) — Some top Democrats vying for the White House in 2020 are clamoring for impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump, but many of their congressional colleagues — who would have to manage such efforts — are far more wary.

The same day House Speaker Nancy Pelosi urged rank-and-file Democrats to proceed with caution following the release of special counsel Robert Mueller's report detailing 10 areas of potential obstruction of justice, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren doubled down on her impeachment call.

"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," Warren said Monday at a CNN town hall in New Hampshire.

At the same event, California Sen. Kamala Harris said Congress should "take the steps towards impeachment." Former Obama administration housing chief Julian Castro has also said he'd back such efforts.

The split reflects tensions that could emerge in coming months between Democrats on Capitol Hill and those seeking the party's presidential nomination. While the White House hopefuls are trying to rally their base with ambitious proposals and bold calls to take on Trump, those in Congress are tasked with the more arduous task of governing.

The dynamic has already been on display with proposals such as the Green New Deal, which many presidential candidates have embraced to prove their progressive bona fides even as it goes nowhere in Congress. But the debate over impeachment is particularly explosive, and Democrats — including those seeking the White House — are divided over whether it would distract from besting Trump at the polls.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders said at Monday's town hall that Congress should do a "hard investigation" to see if the president obstructed justice. But "if, for the next year, year and a half — going right into the heart of the election — all that the Congress is talking about is impeaching Trump and Trump, Trump, Trump, Mueller, Mueller, Mueller," then "what I worry about is that works to Trump's advantage," Sanders said.

The Democrat-controlled House could begin impeachment proceedings, but the party doesn't have the votes in the Senate to secure a conviction without Republican support. Another presidential contender, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, sidestepped questions of whether Congress should push forward on the issue, saying at the town hall: "I believe that I am the jury here, so I'm not going to predispose things."

Impeachment calls in Congress run counter to the effort by top Democrats there, who are still struggling with what to do with the Mueller report's unexpectedly detailed account of Trump's efforts to thwart the investigation. Many would like to see a more deliberate approach that may eventually lead to impeachment but will focus for now on numerous investigations.

Pelosi has been adamant that impeachment is impossible without bipartisan public sentiment for the House to formally charge Trump. Speaking Tuesday at the Time 100 summit, she called bringing such an action "one of the most divisive paths that we can go down."

"If the fact-finding takes us there, we'll have no choice," Pelosi said. "But we're not there yet."

There's division, meanwhile, inside the House Democratic caucus. Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., on Tuesday retweeted Warren's call for impeachment, saying, "I agree! We must begin impeachment proceedings and investigate if the president committed impeachable offenses."

Disagreement can be found on the presidential campaign trail, too.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York said she wants an unredacted version of Mueller's report to be released to Congress, saying of impeachment: "I haven't decided yet because I want more information."

"I would frankly like to beat Trump at the ballot box myself," she said by phone.

Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, said at the town hall that Trump "has made it pretty clear that he deserves impeachment," but that it was up to Congress to attempt it. He said he is focused on delivering the president "an absolute thumping at the ballot box."

Former Rep. Beto O'Rourke said while running for Senate in deeply conservative Texas last year that he'd vote to impeach Trump. Since then, he noted that the 2020 election will ultimately decide the president's fate. Spokesman Chris Evans said Tuesday that O'Rourke believes "beyond a shadow of a doubt" that Trump sought to obstruct justice and that he would vote for impeachment if he were still in Congress.

Republicans who have been critical of Trump have also urged caution on impeachment. Appearing in New Hampshire on Tuesday, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said he didn't believe such an effort "would be productive."

"I think most people in America are sick of this whole two-year investigation," said Hogan, who is considering a potential primary challenge of Trump. "I don't think there should be Democratic overreach."

House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., has subpoenaed former White House counsel Don McGahn , and others have vowed to move ahead investigating Trump-related matters ranging from potential obstruction to his personal and business taxes.

That, though, may not ultimately be enough for longtime advocates of Trump's impeachment.

"Are you going to set a precedent that the president is above the law?" asked Tom Steyer, a billionaire liberal activist who spent millions on a campaign urging Trump's impeachment even before the Mueller report.


Associated Press writers Holly Ramer in Manchester, N.H., and Laurie Kellman in Washington contributed to this report.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Elections, General Election News, General Presidential Election News, AP Elections - Campaigns
© Copyright 2020
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
$768M Wisconsin Powerball winner 'pretty much felt lucky'
A 24-year-old Wisconsin man has stepped forward to claim a $768 million Powerball jackpot, the nation's third-largest lottery rpize, saying he "pretty much felt lucky" the day he bought his tickets
2:54PM ( 2 minutes ago )
Police release father's 911 call reporting son missing
Police have released a recording of the 911 call a suburban Chicago man made when he discovered his 5-year-old son was missing
2:50PM ( 6 minutes ago )
Prosecutor: Greed fueled college basketball coaches' bribes
A prosecutor says greed led a fledgling manager of basketball players to bribe college coaches but defense lawyers say it was all an FBI setup
2:49PM ( 6 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Feds: Ex-CEO is first drug exec indicted in opioid crisis
The former head of a drug distributor has been indicted on what federal prosecutors say are the first-ever criminal charges against a drug company executive stemming from the opioid crisis
2:16PM ( 40 minutes ago )
As Sri Lanka mourns, Islamic State claims Easter bombings
As the death toll from the Easter bombings in Sri Lanka rose to 321, the Islamic State group claimed responsibility and released images that purportedly show the attackers
2:01PM ( 55 minutes ago )
Justices seem ready to OK asking citizenship on census
The Supreme Court's conservative majority seems ready to uphold the Trump administration's plan to ask about citizenship on the 2020 census, despite evidence that millions of Hispanics and immigrants could go uncounted
1:58PM ( 58 minutes ago )
AP National News
Militants blamed in Sri Lanka attacks had incendiary leader
Leader of militant group blamed for Sri Lanka suicide attacks on Easter called for non-Muslims to be 'eliminated' in incendiary speeches, faith leaders say
11:54AM ( 3 hours ago )
Sri Lanka, like world, again sees scourge of suicide attacks
The Easter attacks on churches and hotels were a bloody echo of decades past in Sri Lanka, when militants inspired by attacks in the Lebanese civil war helped develop the suicide bomb vest
11:51AM ( 3 hours ago )
Zelenskiy wins Ukraine's presidential election with 73%
Full preliminary results show TV comedian Volodymyr Zelenskiy win Ukraine's presidential election
11:36AM ( 3 hours ago )
AP Online National News
Kushner plays down Russia's interference in 2016 election
Jared Kushner, senior adviser and son-in-law to President Donald Trump, is playing down Russia's interference in the 2016 presidential election
1:53PM ( 1 hour ago )
White House: Trump admin officials will skip press dinner
White House: Trump administration officials will not be attending this year's annual White House Correspondents' Associated Dinner, following the president's decision to boycott the event.
1:39PM ( 1 hour ago )
Conservative Washington lawmaker strikes back at critics
A Republican state lawmaker from Washington is striking back at critics who say he should resign for appearing to support spying on political opponents
12:49PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Harris adds to endorsements in early-voting South Carolina
Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris is adding to her list of African American endorsements in South Carolina, the first test of the black vote in next year's primary elections
11:01AM ( 3 hours ago )
Sri Lanka minister: Easter bombings a response to NZ attacks
Sri Lanka's state minister of defense says Easter Sunday bombings of churches and hotels were "carried out in retaliation" for attacks on mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, last month
10:27AM ( 4 hours ago )
The Latest: Boris Johnson's sister running for pro-EU party
British Prime Minister Theresa May is facing new pressure from her restive Conservative Party to resign as lawmakers return to Parliament _ and to Brexit wrangling _ after an 11-day Easter break
7:46AM ( 7 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
I killed as Indians vote in 3rd phase of national elections
One person was killed as Indians voted Tuesday in the third phase of the country's general election, amid campaigning by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist party and the opposition that has been marred by bitter accusations and acrimony
11:12AM ( 3 hours ago )
Flores says Biden's jokes about touching are 'disrespectful'
A woman who accuses former Vice President Joe Biden of touching her without permission says it's no laughing matter and is criticizing Biden for making jokes about it
10:05AM ( 4 hours ago )
Flores calls Biden's jokes about touching 'disrespectful'
A woman who accuses former Vice President Joe Biden of touching her without permission says it's no laughing matter and is criticizing Biden for making jokes about it
6:57AM ( 7 hours ago )
AP Elections
The Latest: Buttigieg addresses lack of policy specifics
South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg is addressing questions about his lack of policy specifics, saying he thinks he's been "pretty clear" about where he stands "on the major issues."
11:23PM ( 15 hours ago )
The Latest: Harris dodges question on Boston bomber voting
Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris has sidestepped a question during a town hall over whether convicted criminals like the Boston Marathon bomber should be able to vote
10:55PM ( 16 hours ago )
Harris joins call for impeachment during 2020 Dem town halls
Harris joins call for impeachment during 2020 Dem town halls
10:49PM ( 16 hours ago )
General Election News
The Latest: Sen. Warren doubles down on call for impeachment
Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren is doubling down on her call to impeach President Donald Trump after the release of the redacted Mueller report and is calling on every lawmaker in the House and Senate to vote on his fate
8:45PM ( 18 hours ago )
The Latest: Warren: US should nix for-profit private prisons
Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren says the United States "should get rid of for-profit private prisons."
8:30PM ( 18 hours ago )
The Latest: Warren talks student debt loan forgiveness plan
Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren is championing her proposal to roll back student debt loan for what she said will cover roughly "95 percent of students" who have debt
8:20PM ( 18 hours ago )
General Presidential Election News
Police release father's 911 call reporting son missing
Police have released a recording of the 911 call a suburban Chicago man made when he discovered his 5-year-old son was missing
2:50PM ( 6 minutes ago )
Prosecutor: Greed fueled college basketball coaches' bribes
A prosecutor says greed led a fledgling manager of basketball players to bribe college coaches but defense lawyers say it was all an FBI setup
2:49PM ( 7 minutes ago )
Egypt voters approve referendum extending president's rule
Election officials say voters in Egypt approved constitutional amendments allowing President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi to remain in power until 2030
2:44PM ( 12 minutes ago )
Revulsion in Northern Ireland over riot, fatal shooting
The dramatic riots in Londonderry are starkly reminiscent of the violence that plagued Northern Ireland for decades before the 1998 peace agreement, and the result just as tragic, with the death of a young journalist apparently hit by a stray bullet
2:36PM ( 20 minutes ago )
Saudi Arabia beheads 37 for terrorism crimes; most Shiites
Saudi Arabia has beheaded 37 Saudi citizens, most of them minority Shiites, in a mass execution across the country for alleged terrorism-related crimes
2:35PM ( 21 minutes ago )