Where 2020 Democratic candidates stand on impeachment

Where 2020 Democratic candidates stand on impeachment
© Getty

Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenSanders can gain ground by zeroing in on corruption Biden praises Buttigieg for criticizing GOP attacks: 'That's a good man' Warren enters crucial debate with big momentum MORE (D-Mass.) made impeaching President TrumpDonald John TrumpWHCA calls on Trump to denounce video depicting him shooting media outlets Video of fake Trump shooting members of media shown at his Miami resort: report Trump hits Fox News's Chris Wallace over Ukraine coverage MORE a key campaign issue when she became the first Democratic presidential candidate to call for it publicly.

Previously, the crowd of hopeful presidential nominees steered clear of the issue — and some still do, with multiple candidates deferring to Congress.

ADVERTISEMENT

But Warren wading in after the release of the report on special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerFox News legal analyst says Trump call with Ukraine leader could be 'more serious' than what Mueller 'dragged up' Lewandowski says Mueller report was 'very clear' in proving 'there was no obstruction,' despite having 'never' read it Fox's Cavuto roasts Trump over criticism of network MORE’s investigation into Russia's election interference reignited the debate over whether Democrats should pursue proceedings to impeach Trump. 

Mueller's public comments on the report May 29 further pushed some Democratic candidates toward impeachment proceedings. 

Here’s where they currently stand.

Support impeachment

Warren

Warren was the first 2020 candidate to clearly call for proceedings on April 19, following the public release of Mueller’s report. 

“The severity of this misconduct demands that elected officials in both parties set aside political considerations and do their constitutional duty,” she tweeted on Friday. “That means the House should initiate impeachment proceedings against the President of the United States.”

Harris

Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisRepublicans wrestle with impeachment strategy Klobuchar takes shots at health and education plans supported by Sanders and Warren Kamala Harris to Trump Jr.: 'You wouldn't know a joke if one raised you' MORE (D-Calif.) initially said that more information is needed before making a decision, but advocated for impeachment in a town hall on April 22.

"We have very good reason to believe that there is an investigation that has been conducted which has produced evidence that tells us that this president and his administration engaged in obstruction of justice. I believe Congress should take the steps toward impeachment," Harris said at a CNN town hall in New Hampshire.

Booker

Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerRepublicans wrestle with impeachment strategy O'Rourke campaign says path to victory hinges on top 5 finishes in Iowa, Nevada O'Rourke raises .5 million in third quarter MORE (D-N.J.) announced his support for impeachment proceedings on May 29 following a press conference from Mueller, the special counsel’s first public comments since being appointed.

“Robert Mueller’s statement makes it clear: Congress has a legal and moral obligation to begin impeachment proceedings immediately,” Booker tweeted.

“I’ve been asking for Mueller’s testimony—today he made his views clear. This Administration has continued to stonewall Congress’s oversight. Beginning impeachment proceedings is the only path forward.”

Gillibrand

Following Mueller’s press conference on May 29, Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Gillibrand2020 Presidential Candidates Krystal Ball: Yang campaign a 'triumph of substance over the theatre' Three 2020 candidates have missed about half of Senate votes MORE (D-N.Y.) switched her position to backing impeachment proceedings.

“It's time for Congress to begin impeachment hearings and follow the facts. Robert Mueller clearly expects Congress to exercise its constitutional authority and take steps that he could not,” she tweeted. “We can't let the president defy basic accountability measures built into our Constitution.”

She had previously called for a decision to be delayed until the public heard from Mueller.

O’Rourke

Democratic hopeful Beto O’Rourke on May 4 changed his initial position on impeachment, deferral to Congress, to supporting it.

“We're finally learning the truth about this president. And yes, there has to be consequences. Yes, there has to be accountability. Yes, I think there's enough evidence now for the House of Representatives to move forward with impeachment,” he said in an interview with The Dallas Morning News.

“This is our country, and this is the one chance that we get to ensure that it remains a democracy and that no man, regardless of his position, is above the law.” 

Castro

Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro was the first 2020 candidate to back proceedings.

Castro told CNN's Anderson Cooper on April 19 that it would “perfectly reasonable” for Congress to open impeachment proceedings. 

“It’s clear that Bob Mueller in his report left that in the hands of Congress,” he added.

On the issue of obstruction of justice, Mueller’s team investigated 10 potential instances, including Trump's firing of FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyComey says he has a 'fantasy' about deleting his Twitter account after end of Trump term We need answers to questions mainstream media won't ask about Democrats Trump 'constantly' discusses using polygraphs to stem leaks: report MORE and efforts to deny that he ordered then-White House counsel Don McGahn to demand the special counsel be removed.

After laying out the cases, the special counsel did not reach a conclusion in his report, but did mention that Congress has the authority to conduct obstruction of justice investigations. 

Hickenlooper

Former Colorado Gov. John HickenlooperJohn HickenlooperGardner dodges questions about Trump's call for Biden probe 2020 Presidential Candidates Krystal Ball: Yang campaign a 'triumph of substance over the theatre' MORE on May 30 said he had been swayed by Mueller’s press conference and now supports impeachment proceedings.

“After listening to Mueller, and I wanted to hear what he had to say, I think of myself as an extreme moderate, but I think he laid the responsibility clearly at the doorstep of Congress. I think we have to begin an impeachment inquiry. That doesn’t mean we’re going to impeach President Trump tomorrow or maybe ever. But I do think we have an obligation to follow where the facts lead,” Hickenlooper said on CNN.

Moulton

Rep. Seth MoultonSeth Moulton2020 Presidential Candidates Rep. Joe Kennedy has history on his side in Senate bid Mass shootings have hit 158 House districts so far this year MORE (D-Mass.) tweeted on May 29 after Mueller’s press conference that impeachment hearings should begin "tomorrow."

"The Mueller investigation has provided the evidence. It’s up to Congress to examine that evidence and pursue justice to its conclusion, whatever that may be, regardless of the political consequences," Moulton said in an email to supporters.

Messam

Miramar, Fla., Mayor Wayne MessamWayne Martin Messam2020 primate debate guide: Everything you need to know ahead of the October showdown 2020 Presidential Candidates The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump defends call as Ukraine controversy deepens MORE (D) told The Hill he supports impeachment proceedings based on the evidence available.

"Based on what is available I believe the President should be placed under impeachment proceedings and let the weight of the full report carry out the justice the American people deserve," Messam said in an April 22 statement.

"The redacted Mueller Report provides alarming and damning evidence of the Trump Campaign's interactions with Russians. Special counsel Mueller provided evidence that would determine if impeachment proceedings should take place. The full special counsel report without redaction should be released to congress for review to determine If evidence is sufficient to impeach Trump. Congress has the constitutional authority of oversight and must be given the full report," he said.

Sanders

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSanders wishes Ocasio-Cortez happy birthday Video of fake Trump shooting members of media shown at his Miami resort: report Sanders can gain ground by zeroing in on corruption MORE (I-Vt.) on May 30 called for an impeachment inquiry to be started against Trump, while warning that pursuing impeachment could benefit the president.
 
“I believe the Judiciary Committee should begin impeachment inquiries,” Sanders said at a campaign rally in Henderson, Nevada. “That is inquiries, not impeachment, to determine whether or not Trump has committed impeachable offenses.”
 
“But here is the danger, which I think is why Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiBiden on impeachment: 'I'm the only reason' it's happening Democrats to offer resolution demanding Trump reverse Syria decision Rand Paul calls for probe of Democrats over Ukraine letter MORE and many people are struggling: it may well be that Donald Trump wants to be impeached because he knows that in the senate… there are 47 Democrats and not all of them today would impeach Trump,” he added.
 
Sanders had previously said that Congress should continue investigating Trump, but had not explicitly called for an impeachment inquiry.

Ryan

Rep. Tim RyanTimothy (Tim) John Ryan2020 Presidential Candidates Democrats decry Trump's push to slash number of accepted refugees Harris on whistleblower complaint: 'This is a cover-up' MORE (D-Ohio) on June 2 called for impeachment proceedings to be initiated.

“When you think that the President has committed comes - and I’ve read the Mueller report and think he obstructed (justice) on multiple occasions - we have a responsibility,” he said during a CNN town hall.

Ryan cited Mueller’s press conference earlier in the week, saying he wanted to know whether Trump's status as president was the only reason why the special counsel chose not to indict.

He had previously deferred to the Judiciary Committee on the issue of impeachment.

Swalwell

Rep. Eric SwalwellEric Michael Swalwell2020 Presidential Candidates NBA draws bipartisan backlash over China response Former Ukraine envoy Volker to resign as head of McCain Institute MORE on June 13 called for an impeachment inquiry to be launched against Trump, citing an interview from a day prior where the president wouldn't commit to calling the FBI if a foreign power offered damaging information on a political opponent.

He had previously said he was waiting for Mueller to testify before making a decision.

Klobuchar

Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharRepublicans wrestle with impeachment strategy Klobuchar takes shots at health and education plans supported by Sanders and Warren O'Rourke campaign says path to victory hinges on top 5 finishes in Iowa, Nevada MORE (D-Minn.) first publicly backed impeachment proceedings on June 14, citing Trump’s interview with ABC News earlier that week in which he suggested that if a foreign government offered information he would “take it.”

Trump also would not commit to calling the FBI if a foreign power offered damaging information on a political opponent.

“I would support impeachment proceedings beginning now, but I also understand that they may want to be doing investigations leading up to it and I think they should be given the time to do that,” Klobuchar said on CNN’s “New Day.”

She had previously declined to take a position on the issue, saying senators are meant to be the jury on impeachment.

De Blasio

New York City Mayor Bill de BlasioBill de Blasio2020 Presidential Candidates Cooperate, or else: New York threatens fines to force people to help block immigration enforcement DNC raises qualifying thresholds for fifth presidential debate MORE called for impeachment proceedings on June 14, becoming the third candidate to do so following Trump’s interview in which he wouldn't commit to calling the FBI if a foreign power offered damaging information on a political opponent.

"It was an invitation to make a deal. You get me dirt on my opponents and we’ll take care of you, and we’ve seen no better example than with Russia and Putin where whatever Putin does he gets an affirmation from Donald Trump, and now more and more it looks like in exchange for electoral favors," de Blasio told MSNBC's "Morning Joe."

De Blasio had said before that Democrats should focus on defeating Trump in the 2020 election, rather than on beginning impeachment proceedings.

Not backing impeachment

 

Buttigieg

South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegTrump hits Fox News's Chris Wallace over Ukraine coverage Sanders can gain ground by zeroing in on corruption Biden praises Buttigieg for criticizing GOP attacks: 'That's a good man' MORE said in late May that "of course" he supports impeachment proceedings, but stopped short of saying whether the House should begin the process.

On May 29, he inched closer to supporting impeachment when he tweeted that Mueller's comments on his investigation were "as close to an impeachment referral as it gets," adding that Congress "alone can act."

 

Klobuchar

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) declined to take a position on impeachment, saying senators are meant to be the jury on impeachment.

“Our job is to be jury, so I’ve been really careful talking about if an impeachment is brought before us,” she told MSNBC's Chris Hayes on April 19. 

De Blasio

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) on May 29 declined to endorse impeachment, but did say Congress should continue investigations.

“Congress must continue to investigate #ConDon & his cronies,” he tweeted. “I'm focused on beating @RealDonaldTrump in 2020. As a New Yorker, I know all of his tricks and am tough enough to take him on.”

 

Inslee

Washington Gov. Jay InsleeJay Robert Inslee2020 Presidential Candidates Warren environmental justice plan focuses third of climate investment on disadvantaged communities Poll: Warren closing in on Biden's lead with climate-focused voters MORE said “impeachment should not be off the table,” deferring to Congress on April 19.

Williamson

Self-help author Marianne WilliamsonMarianne Williamson2020 Presidential Candidates Gabbard says she may boycott next week's debate The Hill's Campaign Report: Warren, Sanders overtake Biden in third-quarter fundraising MORE said on April 14 that said Trump’s “fascist leanings” justify impeachment, but left the decision over proceedings to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

“As long as the Republicans… are in charge of the Senate, they wouldn’t remove him anyway, so I leave that to Nancy Pelosi,” she said in a CNN town hall. “I think she’s got it together on this issue and I’m sure she understands the quandary very, very well.”

Bennet

Colorado Sen. Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetThe Hill's Campaign Report: Impeachment fight to take center stage at Dem debate 2020 Presidential Candidates Bennet releases housing affordability plan MORE (D) said on May 14 that he was not ready to call for impeachment.

“I’m not ready to say the president should be impeached,” Bennet said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

“I think it looks from the report as though he’s committed impeachable offenses. I think there is every reason why the investigation in the Congress should continue and then we should make an assessment of where it leads.”

Gabbard

Rep. Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardGabbard slams New York Times profile of her Krystal Ball defends praise of Yang: I am not 'a Russian plant' Gabbard backs Sanders proposal to ban advertisements during primary debates MORE (D-Hawaii) said Democrats need to move on from the Mueller report on April 21.

"I don't think that we should defeat Donald Trump through impeachment,” she told Fox News. “I think it's really important for us, in this country, to come together and have the American people vote to take Donald Trump out of office in 2020."

Yang

Entrepreneur Andrew YangAndrew YangO'Rourke campaign says path to victory hinges on top 5 finishes in Iowa, Nevada Hillicon Valley: Google, Reddit to testify on tech industry protections | Trump joins Amazon-owned Twitch | House to vote on bill to combat foreign interference O'Rourke raises .5 million in third quarter MORE suggested in an April 18 tweet that the decision over impeachment should be left to 2020 voters. 

"I am glad that the Mueller Report has been made public. It's important to the American people. My focus is on beating Donald Trump at the ballot box and solving the problems that got him elected in the first place," Yang said.

Gravel

Former Sen. Mike Gravel (Alaska), who is running with the intention of introducing issues on the debate stage, explicitly said on April 18 that he was not interested in responding to Mueller’s report.

“we won't be doing tweets about the mueller report because it's pointless,” his account tweeted. 

Delaney

Former Rep. John DelaneyJohn Kevin Delaney2020 Presidential Candidates Delaney: I wouldn't allow VP's family members to sit on foreign boards Candidates wish Sanders well after heart procedure MORE (D-Md.) released a statement April 18 suggesting that responding through the ballot box is the appropriate response to the Mueller report. 

“The one conclusion that every American should reach from the Mueller report is that we are better than this,” he tweeted. “We deserve a President free on conflicts, conducting themselves with honor and integrity, and possessing a moral compass that guides their actions. We have to win in 2020.” 

Bullock

Montana Gov. Steve BullockSteve BullockThe Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by USAA — Ex-Ukraine ambassador testifies Trump pushed for her ouster 2020 Presidential Candidates Krystal Ball: Yang campaign a 'triumph of substance over the theatre' MORE released a statement on May 29 following Mueller’s press conference backing oversight, but not impeachment.

"Congress should fulfill its constitutionally empowered oversight of this Administration, and the President and his staff have an obligation to be responsive to those investigations," Bullock said. "As a former Attorney General, I know that no individual is above the law."

– Updated June 14 at 11:06 a.m.