House Dem dismisses impeachment push: 'I'd rather defeat' Trump at ballot box

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) on Saturday dismissed calls by some on the left to impeach President Trump following the publication of the Mueller report, saying he would rather defeat Trump at the ballot box in 2020.

"The American public made a choice, albeit a bad choice, from my perspective," Cleavers said during an appearance on MSNBC. "I'd rather defeat Donald Trump."

Cleaver added that efforts to impeach Trump would exacerbate the country's divides and that Democrats should instead focus on the election.

"We're already a badly divided nation. The impeachment effort is going to only divide us further," he said. "Let's go to the American public and tell them, 'You have an opportunity reelect a kleptocrat or a Democrat,' and I think the majority of the American public will go for a Democrat."

Since the Justice Department released a redacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller's report Thursday, House Democrats have been split over whether to consider impeachment proceedings against the president.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) called an impeachment effort "not worthwhile," while others such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) have pushed to at least investigate the possibility of impeachment.

Mueller's report said that the Trump campaign did not conspire with Russia during the 2016 election. On the question of whether Trump obstructed justice by interfering with the probe itself, Mueller said his report neither implicated nor exonerated Trump but said Congress has the authority to conduct obstruction probes.