Biden accuses Trump of 'abuse of power' over Ukraine call
Harris says Congress should take steps toward impeaching Trump
Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Kamala Harris (Calif.) said Monday that the House should take steps toward impeaching President Trump, saying she believes that special counsel Robert Mueller's report revealed evidence of obstruction of justice.
"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.
Mueller's report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election concluded that the Trump campaign did not conspire or coordinate with Russia, but the special counsel did not reach a conclusion on whether Trump obstructed justice.
Harris is one of the few 2020 Democratic candidates to call for impeachment. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) last week called on the House to start impeachment proceedings, citing a section of Mueller's report in which he wrote that Congress has the authority to conduct obstruction of justice investigations.
Warren, at her own CNN town hall on Monday, defended her call for impeachment, casting the matter as one of civic responsibility rather than political strategy.
Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro and Miramar, Fla., Mayor Wayne Messam, both 2020 candidates, have also said they support impeachment proceedings.
But Democrats on Capitol Hill and other 2020 Democratic candidates are divided on whether to proceed on impeachment, with many voicing concerns about the political ramifications of such a move.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (I), at his CNN town hall, warned Democrats that focusing obsessively on impeachment could backfire and play into Trump's hands.
Meanwhile, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Democratic leadership on Capitol Hill sought to rein in their members on the issue in a conference call Monday, saying that the move could be seen as a rush to judgment and could galvanize Trump's support.
Pelosi emphasized the need for Democrats to focus on their oversight efforts before jumping to impeachment.
"We don't have to go to articles of impeachment to obtain the facts, the presentation of facts," she said, according to a person on the call.
House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) stood out on among the six committee leaders on the call, saying she is still in favor of impeachment as her panel continues its investigations.
Any move on impeachment would almost certainly hit a dead end in the Republican-controlled Senate.
- Updated April 22 at 11:14 pm