Ocasio-Cortez downplays possibility of impeaching Trump

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezOcasio-Cortez: Supporting Sinema challenge by someone like Gallego would be easy decision New Mexico Democrat tests positive for COVID-19 breakthrough case Warner tests positive for breakthrough COVID-19 case MORE (D-N.Y.) downplayed the possibility that Democrats will impeach President TrumpDonald TrumpMark Walker to stay in North Carolina Senate race Judge lays out schedule for Eastman to speed up records processing for Jan. 6 panel Michael Avenatti cross-examines Stormy Daniels in his own fraud trial 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 PelosiBriahna Joy Gray discusses Pelosi's 2022 re-election announcement The Hill's Morning Report - Who will replace Justice Breyer? House Republicans bash Democrats' China competition bill 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 BarrHow President Biden can win back momentum on women's rights Kellyanne Conway memoir set for May release The Hill's Morning Report - US warns Kremlin, weighs more troops to Europe MORE released a four-page summary of special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerAn unquestioning press promotes Rep. Adam Schiff's book based on Russia fiction Senate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG 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 TlaibDemocrats press cryptomining companies on energy consumption Overnight Energy & Environment — Biden announces green buildings initiative Tlaib blasts Biden judicial nominee whose firm sued environmental lawyer 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 CohenProsecutor: Avenatti stole from Stormy Daniels, lied to cover up scheme Stormy Daniels set to testify against former lawyer Avenatti in fraud trial Melania Trump announces new line of NFTs 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.