Support for impeachment grows to 27 percent: poll
Ex-GOP lawmaker says Trump 'illegitimate president,' should be impeached
A former Republican congressman who served for nearly two decades in the House slammed President Trump on Friday as an "illegitimate president" and called for his impeachment.
"I'm calling for impeachment now because the Mueller report is out, and in it [special counsel Robert Mueller] describes 10 obstructions of justice charges that he could not bring because of a Department of Justice rule and regulation that says you can't indict a sitting president. That's number one," former Rep. Tom Coleman (R-Mo.) told CNN's Erin Burnett.
The longtime GOP lawmaker, who left the House in 1993, said his other reason for calling for the president to be removed was because Trump "welcomed help and influence" from Russians during his campaign.
Coleman pointed to how Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort met with a Russian associate, Konstantin Kilimnik, in New York in August 2016 and discussed the campaign's strategy for winning Democratic votes in Midwestern states.
"It's wrong, and it needs to be handled and looked at by the Congress because I believe it's an impeachable offense," Coleman concluded.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has clashed with Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) this week over calls for Trump's impeachment, which Pelosi has resisted.
Coleman said that the Constitution's "high crimes and misdemeanors" clauses defining impeachable misconduct by a president is often interpreted as too narrow.
"I think there is some confusion that it has to be a crime to be impeachable," he explained. "You know, abuse of power, lying to the American people were two grounds for Nixon's articles of impeachment before he resigned. ... It's not a crime to the lie to the American people, but if you do it every day 10 or 20 or 50 times, then you're getting into the area where you should be impeached."
Coleman first made the case for impeachment in a Wednesday op-ed for The Kansas City Star.
Another Republican, Rep. Justin Amash (Mich.), tripled down on his calls for Trump's impeachment this week, citing some "inherently corrupt" actions noted in the Mueller report.
The report following the nearly two-year investigation found that Russia sought to help Trump win in the 2016 presidential election but that the Trump campaign did not directly assist in that process.
Mueller, however, noted that the Trump campaign "expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts."