Ocasio-Cortez downplays possibility of impeaching Trump
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) downplayed the possibility that Democrats will impeach President Trump 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 Pelosi (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.”
Ocasio-Cortez’s comments are notable for a few reasons.
They come days after Attorney General William Barr released a four-page summary of special counsel Robert Mueller’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 Tlaib (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.”
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 Cohen 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.
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