Where 2020 Democratic candidates stand on impeachment

Where 2020 Democratic candidates stand on impeachment
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Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenTrump defense pick expected to face tense confirmation 2020 Democrats target federal ban on abortion funding Gillibrand seizes on abortion debate to jump-start campaign MORE (D-Mass.) made impeaching President TrumpDonald John TrumpPapadopoulos on AG's new powers: 'Trump is now on the offense' Pelosi uses Trump to her advantage Mike Pence delivers West Point commencement address 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.

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But with Warren wading in based on last week's release of the report on special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump orders more troops to Mideast amid Iran tensions Trump: Democrats just want Mueller to testify for a 'do-over' Graham: Mueller investigation a 'political rectal exam' MORE’s investigation into Russia's election interference, the rest of the field is now facing reignited debate over whether Democrats should pursue proceedings to impeach Trump. 

Here’s where they currently stand.

Support impeachment

Warren

Warren was the first 2020 candidate to clearly call for proceedings, 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 HarrisSan Francisco police chief apologizes for raid on journalist's home Gillibrand seizes on abortion debate to jump-start campaign Senate Democrats to House: Tamp down the impeachment talk MORE (D-Calif.) initially said that more information is needed before making a decision, but advocated for impeachment in a town hall on Monday night

"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.

Castro

Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro is the only other 2020 candidate to back proceedings.

Castro told CNN's Anderson Cooper on Friday 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 ComeyFive takeaways from Barr's new powers in 'spying' probe Trump orders intel agencies to cooperate with Barr probe into 'spying' on 2016 campaign Attorney General Barr puts former intel bosses on notice 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. 

Messam

Miramar, Fla., Mayor Wayne MessamWayne Martin MessamBiden retains large lead over Sanders, other 2020 Dems in new Hill-HarrisX poll Momentum builds behind push to pass laws enshrining abortion rights 'SleepyCreepy Joe' and 'Crazy Bernie': Trump seeks to define 2020 Dems with insults 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 a 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.

 

Not backing impeachment

Sanders

On Thursday, Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersJames Carville: Biden represents 'stability' not 'generational change' Ocasio-Cortez, progressives trash 'antisemitic' Politico illustration of Bernie Sanders 2020 Democrats target federal ban on abortion funding MORE (I-Vt.) called on Congress to continue investigating Russia’s role in the 2016 election but did not mention impeachment. 

“It is clear that Donald Trump wanted nothing more than to shut down the Mueller investigation,” Sanders said in a statement. “While we have more detail from today's report than before, Congress must continue its investigation into Trump's conduct and any foreign attempts to influence our election.”

Buttigieg

South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegButtigieg defends Kaepernick, NFL players who kneel during national anthem Journalism is now opinion-based — not news-based Buttiegieg backs NFL players' right to protest during anthem: I 'put my life on the line to defend' that MORE told NBC News on Friday that while he’s “pretty sure [Trump] deserves to be impeached,” he will leave the issue to members of Congress. 

 

O’Rourke

Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) also deferred to the House.

“I wouldn’t blame any member of the House for voting for this,” O’Rourke said during an appearance in Nashua, N.H., per the New York Times.

He supported impeachment when he was running for the Senate last year.

O’Rourke has previously suggested the 2020 election would be a good way for voters to resolve the issue. 

Booker

Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony Booker2020 Democrats target federal ban on abortion funding Gillibrand seizes on abortion debate to jump-start campaign 2020 hopeful John Delaney unveils T climate plan MORE (D-N.J) told reporters during a campaign stop in Nevada on Friday that impeachment talks were premature.

"There's a lot more investigation that should go on before Congress comes to any conclusions like that,” he said, according to SFGate

Klobuchar

Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharKlobuchar to roll out policy priorities for farmers in Iowa 2020 hopeful John Delaney unveils T climate plan Samantha Bee slams 2020 Democrats who go on Fox News MORE (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 Thursday. 

Gillibrand

Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandTrump defense pick expected to face tense confirmation 2020 Democrats target federal ban on abortion funding Gillibrand seizes on abortion debate to jump-start campaign MORE (D-N.Y.) criticized Barr’s handling of the report and called for an unredacted version to be released twice on Twitter on Thursday. 

During a campaign stop in Ames, Iowa, on Friday, Gillibrand said she wants to hold public and closed-door hearings with Mueller before deciding on the next steps.

“I want the American people to get to hear [Mueller’s] words and hear what he says,” Gillibrand said, according to the Des Moines Register.

Ryan

Rep. Tim RyanTimothy (Tim) John RyanCNN's O'Rourke town hall finishes behind Fox News, MSNBC GOP faces new challenge in 2020 abortion fight 2020 Democratic presidential candidates rally in support of abortion rights MORE (D-Ohio), who entered the race earlier this month, said Sunday that he does not believe Congress should begin impeachment proceedings, instead deferring to the Judiciary Committee.

"This is very, very, very serious. I believe that the first step is to have Rep. Jerry NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerDemocrats are running out of stunts to pull from impeachment playbook Trump asks if Nadler will look into Clinton's 'deleted and acid washed' emails Trump tweets conservative commentator's criticism of FBI director MORE [D-N.Y.] continue to open up this investigation to better understand this. We are just getting this document," Ryan said on CNN.

"Let the Judiciary Committee look at this. There's a process in place here. I trust Jerry Nadler, he's one of the smartest guys in the United States Congress, I think that's the natural next step and let's see where that leads," he added. 

When pressed by Jake TapperJacob (Jake) Paul TapperJake Tapper fact-checks poster Trump admin created describing Mueller investigation Romney: Justin Amash 'reached a different conclusion' than I did on impeachment Kamala Harris: Time to take 'serious look at breaking up Facebook' MORE on whether he supports impeachment right now, Ryan clarified his deferral.

"Let the process play itself out," he responded. "And let's educate the American people, too. This is a very nuanced document, let the American people really see what's going on here." 

Swalwell

Rep. Eric SwalwellEric Michael SwalwellHouse Intelligence enjoys breakthrough with Justice Department Hillicon Valley: Assange hit with 17 more charges | Facebook removes record 2.2B fake profiles | Senate passes anti-robocall bill | Senators offer bill to help companies remove Huawei equipment On The Money: Senate passes disaster aid bill after deal with Trump | Trump to offer B aid package for farmers | House votes to boost retirement savings | Study says new tariffs to double costs for consumers MORE (D-Calif.) wants to have Mueller testify in front of Congress before making an impeachment determination.

“Well, I think we want to hear from Mueller, right?” he told CNN’s Don LemonDon Carlton LemonTrump biographer: He believes in 'genetic superiority' and does not 'respect most people' CNN's Don Lemon asks if Rosenstein is a 'double agent type' CNN celebrates correspondents' weekend with New Orleans-themed brunch MORE. “He has to come before Congress, lay it all out, as this report has.

“It’s a conversation we have to have.”

Inslee

Washington Gov. Jay InsleeJay Robert InsleeOvernight Energy: Democrats push EPA to collect 4K in 'excessive' Pruitt travel expenses | Greens angered over new rules for rocket fuel chemical | Inslee to join youth climate strikers in Las Vegas Inslee hits 65,000 donor threshold for primary debate Inslee says he'll join youth climate strikers in Las Vegas MORE has said “impeachment should not be off the table,” deferring to Congress.

Yang

Entrepreneur Andrew YangAndrew YangKlobuchar to roll out policy priorities for farmers in Iowa DNC boss says candidates to be involved in debate lottery Hillicon Valley: Assange hit with 17 more charges | Facebook removes record 2.2B fake profiles | Senate passes anti-robocall bill | Senators offer bill to help companies remove Huawei equipment MORE suggested in a 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 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 Democrats target federal ban on abortion funding Overnight Energy: Democrats ask if EPA chief misled on vehicle emissions | Dem senators want NBC debate focused on climate change | 2020 hopeful John Delaney unveils T climate plan 2020 hopeful John Delaney unveils T climate plan MORE (D-Md.) released a statement Thursday 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.” 

The Hill reached out to the campaigns of Rep. Seth MoultonSeth Wilbur MoultonRepublicans attempt to amend retirement savings bill to include anti-BDS language CNN's O'Rourke town hall finishes behind Fox News, MSNBC Pelosi employs committee chairs to tamp down calls for Trump impeachment MORE (D-Mass.), former Colorado Gov. John HickenlooperJohn Wright HickenlooperThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump says no legislation until Dems end probes Budowsky: 3 big dangers for Democrats Biden retains large lead over Sanders, other 2020 Dems in new Hill-HarrisX poll MORE (D) and self-help author Marianne WilliamsonMarianne Williamson2020 Democrats target federal ban on abortion funding DNC boss says candidates to be involved in debate lottery Biden retains large lead over Sanders, other 2020 Dems in new Hill-HarrisX poll MORE for comment on impeachment proceedings. None of these candidates have directly addressed impeachment since the release of Mueller's report last week.

-Updated April 23 at 9:42 a.m.