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Ocasio-Cortez downplays possibility of impeaching Trump

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezOcasio-Cortez says lawmakers fear colleagues sneaking firearms on House floor Ocasio-Cortez spent inauguration evening supporting striking workers in New York Budowsky: Democracy won, Trump lost, President Biden inaugurated MORE (D-N.Y.) downplayed the possibility that Democrats will impeach President TrumpDonald TrumpMcCarthy says he told Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene he disagreed with her impeachment articles against Biden Biden, Trudeau agree to meet next month Trump planned to oust acting AG to overturn Georgia election results: report 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 PelosiDivide and conquer or unite and prosper Trump impeachment article being sent to Senate Monday Roe is not enough: Why Black women want an end to the Hyde Amendment 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 BarrBudowsky: Democracy won, Trump lost, President Biden inaugurated Two-thirds say the election was fair: poll The Hill's Morning Report - An inauguration like no other MORE released a four-page summary of special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerWhy a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel CNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump 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 TlaibBiden and the new Congress must protect Americans from utility shutoffs Overnight Energy: EPA rule exempts many polluting industries from future air regulations | Ex-Michigan governor to be charged over Flint water crisis: report | Officials ousted from White House after papers casting doubt on climate science Ex-Michigan governor to be charged over Flint water crisis: report 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 CohenFlorida bank says it has closed Trump's accounts Trump's pardons harshly criticized by legal experts Manhattan DA expands probe into Trump company to include family estate: report 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.