Where 2020 Democratic candidates stand on impeachment

Where 2020 Democratic candidates stand on impeachment
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Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenWarren embraces Thiel label: 'Good' Trump says administration will 'take a look' after Thiel raises concerns about Google, China Thiel calls Warren the most 'dangerous' Democratic candidate MORE (D-Mass.) made impeaching President TrumpDonald John TrumpEsper sidesteps question on whether he aligns more with Mattis or Trump Warren embraces Thiel label: 'Good' As tensions escalate, US must intensify pressure on Iran and the IAEA 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 Warren wading in after the release of the report on special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerTop Republican considered Mueller subpoena to box in Democrats Kamala Harris says her Justice Dept would have 'no choice' but to prosecute Trump for obstruction Dem committees win new powers to investigate Trump 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 HarrisHarris slams DOJ decision not to charge police in Eric Garner's death Harris vows to 'put people over profit' in prescription drug plan The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by JUUL Labs - House to vote to condemn Trump tweet 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 BookerHarris slams DOJ decision not to charge police in Eric Garner's death The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by JUUL Labs - House to vote to condemn Trump tweet Fundraising numbers highlight growing divide in 2020 race 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 Elizabeth GillibrandThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by JUUL Labs - House to vote to condemn Trump tweet Fundraising numbers highlight growing divide in 2020 race Five things to watch for at Defense nominee's confirmation hearing 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 ComeyHannity invites Ocasio-Cortez to join prime-time show for full hour The Hill's 12:30 Report: Acosta under fire over Epstein plea deal White House repeatedly blocks ex-aide from answering Judiciary panel questions 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 Wright HickenlooperFundraising numbers highlight growing divide in 2020 race 2020 Democrats call Trump's tweets about female Democrats racist Biden proposes tax increases for wealthy as part of health care plan 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 Wilbur Moulton2020 Democrats call Trump's tweets about female Democrats racist Biden proposes tax increases for wealthy as part of health care plan 2020 Democrats push tax hike on wealthy investors 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 MessamTop Democrats who could win presidential nomination Warren, Harris surge into tie with Biden in new Iowa poll The Hill's 12:30 Report: Anticipation high ahead of first debate 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 SandersWarren embraces Thiel label: 'Good' Sanders slams decision not to charge officer who killed Eric Garner Cardi B says voters let Bernie Sanders down 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 PelosiHouse Democrat pushes for censuring Trump in closed-door meeting Trump: I don't have a racist bone in my body Ocasio-Cortez responds to fresh criticism from Trump 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 Democrats call Trump's tweets about female Democrats racist 3 reasons billionaire activist Tom Steyer is running for president ProPublica to fund reporter to cover Youngstown, Ohio, after newspaper folds 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 SwalwellFundraising numbers highlight growing divide in 2020 race The Hill's 12:30 Report: Pelosi looks to squash fight with progressives The Hill's Morning Report - 2020 jitters hit both parties in the Senate 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 KlobucharThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by JUUL Labs - House to vote to condemn Trump tweet Fundraising numbers highlight growing divide in 2020 race Critics slam billion Facebook fine as weak 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 Democrats call Trump's tweets about female Democrats racist #RacistPresident trends amid criticism over Trump tweets Buttigieg: 'Medicare for all,' free college tuition are 'questionable on their merits' 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 ButtigiegThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by JUUL Labs - House to vote to condemn Trump tweet Fundraising numbers highlight growing divide in 2020 race South Bend police officer resigns after killing of black 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 InsleeOregon to require schools to teach about Holocaust The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by JUUL Labs - House to vote to condemn Trump tweet Fundraising numbers highlight growing divide in 2020 race MORE said “impeachment should not be off the table,” deferring to Congress on April 19.

Williamson

Self-help author Marianne WilliamsonMarianne WilliamsonThe Young Turks' Cenk Uygur: Here's how to choose a president Gravel campaign to air Biden attack ad on MSNBC The Hill's 12:30 Report: Pelosi looks to squash fight with progressives 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 Morning Report - Presented by JUUL Labs - House to vote to condemn Trump tweet Fundraising numbers highlight growing divide in 2020 race Inslee raises over million in second quarter 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 GabbardSanders praises Gen Z for being 'profoundly anti-racist, anti-sexist, anti-homophobic' Next Generation foreign policy: Time for the Democrats to embrace restraint 3 reasons billionaire activist Tom Steyer is running for president 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 YangThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by JUUL Labs - House to vote to condemn Trump tweet Biden, Harris and Warren in a statistical tie atop New Hampshire poll Inslee raises over million in second 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 DelaneyBiden proposes tax increases for wealthy as part of health care plan The Young Turks' Cenk Uygur: Here's how to choose a president 2020 Democrats push tax hike on wealthy investors 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 BullockFundraising numbers highlight growing divide in 2020 race Inslee raises over million in second quarter Moulton: Trump voters 'know that he's an a--hole' 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.