Ocasio-Cortez downplays possibility of impeaching Trump

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezDemocratic strategist Andrew Feldman says Biden is moving left Hispanic Caucus asks Trump to rescind invitation to Mexican president Nadler wins Democratic primary MORE (D-N.Y.) downplayed the possibility that Democrats will impeach President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump second-term plans remain a mystery to GOP Trump to hold outdoor rally in New Hampshire on Saturday Eighty-eight years of debt pieties MORE on Tuesday, telling reporters that her party has to consider the reality that Republicans have the Senate majority.

The freshman lawmaker said she supports impeachment in principle, but the tenor of her comments were more in line with those of Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiRussian bounties revive Trump-GOP foreign policy divide On The Money: Breaking down the June jobs report | The biggest threats facing the recovery | What will the next stimulus bill include? Military bases should not be renamed, we must move forward in the spirit of reconciliation MORE (D-Calif.), who has repeatedly suggested that impeachment of Trump is unlikely.

“I think what's tough is, impeachment in principle is something that I openly support,” Ocasio-Cortez told reporters after a House Democratic Caucus meeting. “But it's also just the reality of having the votes in the Senate to pursue that. And so that's something that we have to take into consideration.”

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Ocasio-Cortez’s comments are notable for a few reasons.

They come days after Attorney General William BarrBill BarrDemocrat asks Barr to preserve any records tied to environmental hacking probe Justice Dept. considering replacing outgoing US attorney in Brooklyn with Barr deputy: report Ousted Manhattan US Attorney Berman to testify before House next week MORE released a four-page summary of special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerCNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout MORE’s findings that revealed the investigation did not find a conspiracy between Trump’s campaign and Moscow in the 2016 presidential election. Mueller also did not make a finding on obstruction of justice, though Barr’s summary said he also did not exonerate Trump.

The White House has seized on the end of the Mueller probe to blast Democrats for airing conspiracies about Trump, and it was widely seen as undermining efforts aimed at impeaching Trump.

Ocasio-Cortez is an ally of fellow freshman Rep. Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibThe Hill's Campaign Report: Colorado, Utah primary results bring upsets, intrigue Progressive lawmakers call for conditions on Israel aid Ocasio-Cortez pitches interns to work for her instead of McConnell MORE (D-Mich.), who is circulating a letter to gin up support for a resolution calling on the House Judiciary Committee to investigate whether Trump has committed impeachable offenses.

Asked about Tlaib's effort, Ocasio-Cortez was noncommittal and said “we're taking a look at it.”

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Tlaib's resolution would call for investigating whether Trump is violating the Constitution's Emoluments Clause by taking money from foreign governments through his businesses; whether Trump “committed crimes to defraud the United States” with hush money payments through Michael CohenMichael Dean CohenBarr to testify in House oversight hearing next month Stone received 'favorable treatment' because of relationship with Trump, former prosecutor will testify Nadler to subpoena AG Barr over Berman firing MORE to silence women alleging affairs; and whether the evidence found by Mueller's probe amounts to obstruction of justice.

Pelosi has pressed for Mueller’s full report to be released, a point she reiterated during Tuesday’s Democratic caucus meeting.

But she has been very cautious on impeachment, arguing there would need to be bipartisan support to move forward with the effort and suggesting her focus is on defeating Trump at the ballot box in 2020.

Democrats control the House and might be able to win a majority vote on impeachment in the body.

But to secure a conviction in the Senate, they would need a two-thirds majority vote. That would require 20 Republicans to back impeachment of a GOP president.