Beto O'Rourke on impeachment: 'There is enough there to proceed'

Beto O'Rourke on impeachment: 'There is enough there to proceed'
© Greg Nash

Texas Rep. Beto O'RourkeRobert (Beto) Francis O'RourkeMoulton enters 2020 White House race The Hill's Morning Report - Is impeachment back on the table? Key aides leave O'Rourke's campaign: report MORE (D) said Thursday during a CNN town hall he has not changed his mind about impeaching President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump calls Sri Lankan prime minister following church bombings Ex-Trump lawyer: Mueller knew Trump had to call investigation a 'witch hunt' for 'political reasons' The biggest challenge from the Mueller Report depends on the vigilance of everyone MORE but said Democrats should wait until the results of Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE's special counsel investigation are revealed.

Asked by CNN's Dana Bash whether he had changed his mind about voting for articles of impeachment in the House after initially saying in July that he would do so, O'Rourke said that he had not.

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"I haven't. Let me put it this way. There may be an open question as to whether the president, then the candidate, sought to collude with the Russian government in 2016," O'Rourke told the audience, before explaining that Trump's defense of Russia during a joint press conference with Vladimir Putin earlier this year was "collusion in action."

"[And when in] broad daylight, on Twitter, he asked his attorney general, Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsAnd the winner of the Robert Mueller Sweepstakes is — Vladimir Putin The Memo: Mueller's depictions will fuel Trump angst Collins: Mueller report includes 'an unflattering portrayal' of Trump MORE, to end the Russia investigation, I would say that's obstruction in action," O'Rourke added.

"The best course to get there so that every member has all the facts and that they are compelling enough to do the right thing is to allow the full independence and integrity of the Bob Mueller investigation," O'Rourke said.

When pressed on why he would vote for impeachment without seeing the investigation's results, O'Rourke responded that enough public evidence already existed to convince him of Trump's potential guilt.

"I would liken impeachment to an indictment. There is enough there to proceed with the trial for a full vetting of the facts and to make the best informed decision in the interests of this country and our future," O'Rourke said.

Dozens of House Democrats signed on to an effort to introduce articles of impeachment against the president earlier this year, but the effort has yet to gain any traction among Democratic leadership.

If Democrats were to pass articles of impeachment upon potentially taking the House in November's midterm elections, the president would face a trial in the Senate that could lead to removal from office.

O'Rourke is running against incumbent Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzTrump removes sanctions waivers on countries buying oil from Iran The Hill's Morning Report - Is impeachment back on the table? Buttigieg steals Beto's thunder MORE (R) for in next month's midterm. Recent polls show Cruz holding a single-digit lead.