Cummings on impeachment: 'We may very well come to that'

Cummings on impeachment: 'We may very well come to that'
© Greg Nash
House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsMaloney wins vote for Oversight chairwoman House passes stopgap as spending talks stall Stopgap government funding measure includes census money, military pay raise MORE (D-Md.) suggested Friday that impeachment proceedings against President TrumpDonald John TrumpDem senator says Zelensky was 'feeling the pressure' to probe Bidens 2020 Dems slam Trump decision on West Bank settlements Trump calls latest impeachment hearings 'a great day for Republicans' MORE could be a possibility 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.
 
Cummings stressed in an interview on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" that Democrats will continue their investigations into Trump as they decide their next steps after the Justice Department released Mueller's report on his probe into Russia's election interference.
 
"A lot of people keep asking about the question of impeachment. We may very well come to that very soon," Cummings said.
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"But right now, let's make sure we understand what Mueller was doing, understand what [Attorney General William] Barr was doing, and see the report in an unredacted form, and all of the underlying documents," Cummings added.
 
Cummings had previously called impeachment talk premature before Thursday's release of Mueller's findings in a more than 400-page, partially redacted report.
 
As recently as a month ago, Cummings said that impeachment “has to be a bipartisan effort, and right now it’s not there" and that “this matter will only be resolved at the polls."
 
Mueller's report outlines 10 instances of Trump potentially obstructing justice over the course of the investigation, including by firing James ComeyJames Brien Comey3 reasons why impeachment fatigue has already set in Day 2 impeachment ratings drop by more than 1 million from first day Chris Wallace on Yovanovitch testimony: 'If you're not moved, you don't have a pulse' MORE as FBI director and ordering then-White House counsel Don McGahn to demand the special counsel's removal. The report further details how McGahn refused to deny accurate media reporting about the episode despite pressure from the president to dispute such reports.
 
During the Friday interview, Cummings said the accounting of Trump's behavior in the Mueller report is "at least 100 times worse" than former President Clinton's actions in the Monica Lewinsky scandal that led to his impeachment in 1998.
 
Cummings added that Trump likely feels "emboldened" with Republicans rallying around him given that the Mueller report did not establish that the Trump campaign coordinated with the Russian government's election interference efforts in 2016.
 
"He probably feels emboldened because a lot of our Republican friends who will not lift a finger against him — as a matter of fact, they have acted as defense counsel for him — they now say, 'Oh, everything's fine, we've got to keep on doing what we're doing.' Well, I'm in disagreement with that. We've got to go against this. We've got to expose it," Cummings said. 
 
“I am open to working with the Department to reach a reasonable accommodation for access to these materials, however, I cannot accept any proposal which leaves most of Congress in the dark, as they grapple with their duties of legislation, oversight and constitutional accountability," Nadler said in a statement. 
 
When asked at a Thursday press conference about the potential for impeachment, Nadler said, "That’s one possibility, there are others."
 
"We obviously have to get to the bottom of what happened and take whatever action seems necessary at that time. It's too early to reach those conclusions. It's one reason we wanted the Mueller report. We still want the Mueller report in its entirety, and we want other evidence too," Nadler added.
 
Other top Democrats have cautioned against moving to impeach Trump in light of the Mueller report's findings.
 
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffFive things to know about Tuesday's impeachment hearings Nunes complains Democrats adding extra time for questioning witnesses Volker says he rejected Biden 'conspiracy theory' pushed by Giuliani MORE (D-Calif.) said that lawmakers need time to continue their own investigations and take in the full contents of the report. House Democrats will convene via conference call on Monday to discuss their strategy going forward.
 
"We certainly need to continue the investigative work to determine, are there other ways this president is compromised, or, are there other offenses that rise to the level of removal from office?" Schiff said during a Friday interview on MSNBC's "Andrea Mitchell Reports." "But here we are less than 24 hours after the report, and I think we need as a caucus to have a discussion about what's the import of this and what’s the way forward."
 
House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerHouse passes stopgap as spending talks stall This week: Round 2 of House impeachment inquiry hearings Lawmakers skeptical of progress on spending deal as wall battle looms MORE (D-Md.) said Thursday that he didn't see anything in the Mueller report to warrant pursuing impeachment at this stage.
 
“Based on what we have seen to date, going forward on impeachment is not worthwhile at this point. Very frankly, there is an election in 18 months and the American people will make a judgment,” Hoyer told CNN.
 
Hoyer later tweeted that "Congress must have the full report & all underlying evidence in order to determine what actions may be necessary to ensure that the Congress & the American people have all the info they need to know the truth & all options ought to remain on the table to achieve that objective."