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 ButtigiegJuan Williams: Honesty, homophobia and Mayor Pete Democrats on edge as Iowa points to chaotic race Democrats debate how to defeat Trump: fight or heal MORE (D) said in an interview that he'd support opening a Department of Justice (DOJ) criminal investigation into President TrumpDonald John TrumpThis week: House kicks off public phase of impeachment inquiry Impeachment week: Trump probe hits crucial point Judd Gregg: The big, big and bigger problem 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 MuellerSpeier says impeachment inquiry shows 'very strong case of bribery' by Trump Gowdy: I '100 percent' still believe public congressional hearings are 'a circus' Comey: Mueller 'didn't succeed in his mission because there was inadequate transparency' 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 HarrisJuan Williams: Honesty, homophobia and Mayor Pete Democrats debate how to defeat Trump: fight or heal Women who inspired 'Hidden Figures' film will be honored with congressional gold medals 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."