Former Trump transition official calls for impeachment

J.W. Verret, a George Mason University law professor who briefly worked on President TrumpDonald John TrumpRepublicans aim to avoid war with White House over impeachment strategy New York Times editorial board calls for Trump's impeachment Trump rips Michigan Rep. Dingell after Fox News appearance: 'Really pathetic!' MORE's transition team, is calling for Congress to begin impeachment proceedings against Trump following the release of special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerJeffries blasts Trump for attack on Thunberg at impeachment hearing Live coverage: House Judiciary to vote on impeachment after surprise delay Trump says he'll release financial records before election, knocks Dems' efforts MORE's report. 

Verret, who worked as deputy director of economic policy for Trump's presidential transition from August to October 2016, first argued for impeachment last week, saying that there was "enough" in Mueller's report to justify it. 

Verret expanded upon his argument on Tuesday, writing in a column for The Atlantic that the Mueller report served as a "tipping point" for him, one that sparked him to transition "from Trump team member to pragmatist about Trump to advocate for his impeachment."

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Verret, who has worked on every Republican presidential transition team of the last decade, writes that he was one of the first individuals to join Trump's after interviewing for the job in August 2016. But he noted that he "amicably" parted ways with the team in October after it became clear he wasn't a fit. Verret said he never hid his distaste of Trump's rhetoric on immigration and trade. 

But he said never considered joining the "Never Trump" Republicans until the Mueller report's release. 

"In the face of a Department of Justice policy that prohibited him from indicting a sitting president, Mueller drafted what any reasonable reader would see as a referral to Congress to commence impeachment hearings," he wrote, adding that Trump's "elaborate pattern of obstruction may have successfully impeded the Mueller investigation from uncovering a conspiracy to commit more serious crimes."

"Republicans who stand up to Trump today may face some friendly fire," Verret added. "Today’s Republican electorate seems spellbound by the sound bites of Twitter and cable news, for which Trump is a born wizard.

"Yet, in time, we can help rebuild the Republican Party, enabling it to rise from the ashes of the post-Trump apocalypse into a party with renewed commitment to principles of liberty, opportunity, and the rule of law."

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

The Justice Department last week released Mueller's report on his 22-month investigation into Russian interference and possible obstruction of justice by Trump. Mueller did not find evidence that the Trump campaign worked with Moscow to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. 

The report notes that the special counsel was unable to “conclusively determine” that no criminal conduct occurred in regard to obstruction of justice. 

Multiple 2020 Democratic presidential candidates, including Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenTrump executive order aimed at combating anti-Semitism stirs up controversy Booker leads other 2020 Dems in petition urging DNC to change debate qualifications Democrats threaten to skip next debate over labor dispute MORE (Mass.) and Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisBooker leads other 2020 Dems in petition urging DNC to change debate qualifications Sanders revokes congressional endorsement for Young Turks founder Cenk Uygur The Hill's Campaign Report: 2020 Democrats trading jabs ahead of Los Angeles debate MORE (Calif.), have called for Congress to begin impeachment proceedings based on the findings in the report.