Buttigieg says he'd support DOJ probe into Trump if 'credible allegation' emerges

Buttigieg says he'd support DOJ probe into Trump if 'credible allegation' emerges
© Greg Nash

South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegGroup of wealthy Americans write open letter asking to be taxed more The Hill's Morning Report - Crunch time arrives for 2020 Dems with debates on deck The Memo: All eyes on faltering Biden ahead of first debate MORE (D) said in an interview that he'd support opening a Department of Justice (DOJ) criminal investigation into President TrumpDonald John TrumpConway defends herself against Hatch Act allegations amid threat of subpoena How to defuse Gulf tensions and avoid war with Iran Trump says 'stubborn child' Fed 'blew it' by not cutting rates MORE on possible obstruction of justice should he defeat Trump in 2020.

Buttigieg, who is running for president, also told The Atlantic he would only take such a step if a "credible allegation" emerges, while expressing wariness about keeping an investigation outside the DOJ's realm to avoid politicizing such a probe.

“To the extent that there’s an obstruction case, then yes, DOJ’s got to deal with it,” Buttigieg told the publication in an interview published Thursday. 

"I would want any credible allegation of criminal behavior to be investigated to the fullest,” Buttigieg also said.

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“You don’t have to go out of the DOJ. And the less it’s done out of the DOJ, the better, because the further away it is from the political body, the better.”

The Atlantic also reported that Buttigieg reiterated his support for Congress launching an impeachment inquiry against Trump. 

“The more we separate the concept of impeachment from the concept of removal from office and talk about this as a process,” he said, “the more likely it is that Congress will find that its greatest contribution to the rule of law may well be in creating that process.” 

Buttigieg is one of several 2020 Democratic candidates who have called for Congress to launch an impeachment inquiry against Trump following the release of special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerKamala Harris says her Justice Dept would have 'no choice' but to prosecute Trump for obstruction Dem committees win new powers to investigate Trump Schiff says Intel panel will hold 'series' of hearings on Mueller report MORE's report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. 

The report stated it had found no evidence of collusion between Russia and Trump's campaign but did not clear the president of obstruction. 

Mueller reiterated the conclusions of that report in a rare press conference last month in which he said that if his office “had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so.”

"Robert Mueller could not clear the president, nor could he charge him — so he has handed the matter to Congress, which alone can act to deliver due process and accountability," Buttigieg tweeted after Mueller's remarks. 

Buttigieg's comments on potentially pursuing an investigation of Trump for obstruction of justice also came just a day after Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisThe Hill's Morning Report - Crunch time arrives for 2020 Dems with debates on deck The Memo: All eyes on faltering Biden ahead of first debate 2020 primary debate guide: Everything you need to know ahead of the first Democratic showdown MORE (D-Calif.), who is also running for president, said her Justice Department would have "no choice" but to prosecute Trump for possible obstruction of justice if she became president. 

"I believe that they would have no choice and that they should, yes," the former California attorney general told the "NPR Politics Podcast" in an episode released Wednesday. "There has to be accountability."