Castro argues for impeachment: We'll tell voters 'Moscow Mitch' let him off

Castro argues for impeachment: We'll tell voters 'Moscow Mitch' let him off
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Presidential candidate Julián Castro argued fiercely during Wednesday’s primary debate for congressional Democrats to begin impeachment proceedings against President TrumpDonald John TrumpZuckerberg launches public defense of Facebook as attacks mount Trump leaning toward keeping a couple hundred troops in eastern Syria: report Warren says making Israel aid conditional on settlement building is 'on the table' MORE, saying it would play in Trump’s favor if they don't.

“If they don’t impeach him, he’s going to say, ‘The Democrats didn’t go after me on impeachment, and you know why? I didn’t do anything wrong,’” said Castro, who served as secretary of House and Urban Development under former President Obama.




“Conversely, if Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTurkey sanctions face possible wall in GOP Senate Fox's Wallace says 'well-connected' Republican told him there's a 20 percent chance GOP will vote for impeachment White House staggers after tumultuous 48 hours MORE lets him off, we’re going to say, sure. They impeached him in the House, his friend [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell — ‘Moscow Mitch’ — let him off the hook,” Castro said, referring to the Kentucky Republican.

Even if the House successfully votes to impeach Trump, it would be certain to fail in the Republican-controlled Senate. 

Castro was responding to Sen. Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetSenate Democrats want Warren to talk costs on 'Medicare for All' The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden camp faces new challenges Bennet reintroduces bill to ban lawmakers from becoming lobbyists MORE (D-Colo.), who suggested Democrats needed to be careful in starting impeachment proceedings, especially as it gets closer to the Iowa caucuses, because, Bennet said, the president would trumpet an acquittal.

The 10 candidates on stage Wednesday were asked about former special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerFox News legal analyst says Trump call with Ukraine leader could be 'more serious' than what Mueller 'dragged up' Lewandowski says Mueller report was 'very clear' in proving 'there was no obstruction,' despite having 'never' read it Fox's Cavuto roasts Trump over criticism of network MORE’s report and potential impeachment at the end of the second July debate. The topic did not come up during Tuesday night’s debate.

Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisWarren says she will unveil plan to finance 'Medicare for All' Kamala Harris reacts to supporter who got tattoo of her handwriting Even with likely Trump impeachment, Democrats face uphill climb to win presidency MORE (D-Calif.), a former prosecutor, defended her past comments that her Justice Department would likely pursue charges against Trump over obstruction of justice. 

Harris said she would “never direct” the department to pursue a case against anyone, but argued there are “10 clear instances of obstruction of justice” by Trump laid out in Volume II of Mueller’s report. 

“The reality is I have seen people go to prison for far less,” Harris said. “No one is above the law, including the president of the United States.” 

Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerWarren says she will unveil plan to finance 'Medicare for All' Gabbard hits back at 'queen of warmongers' Clinton The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden camp faces new challenges MORE (D-N.J.) argued for Congress to begin impeachment proceedings against Trump in order to hold him accountable for acting as an “authoritarian.”

“We took an oath to uphold this Constitution,” Booker said. “The politics of this be damned.”

New York Mayor Bill de BlasioBill de BlasioNew York City lawmakers vote to close Rikers Island jail by 2026 2020 Presidential Candidates Cooperate, or else: New York threatens fines to force people to help block immigration enforcement MORE (D) agreed that Trump has “committed crimes worthy of impeachment” but urged Democrats to be wary not to ignore addressing pressing issues for the American people.

“Move for impeachment, but don’t forget to do the people’s business,” de Blasio said. 

Mueller’s report details nearly a dozen instances of potential obstruction of justice by Trump, but the former special counsel did not reach a conclusion either way on whether Trump obstructed the Russia investigation. His report pointedly declines to exonerate Trump on obstruction allegations.

Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrFederal prosecutors interviewed multiple FBI officials for Russia probe review: report Mulvaney walks back comments tying Ukraine aid to 2016 probe Mulvaney ties withheld Ukraine aid to political probe sought by Trump MORE and then-Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinTrump attacks Sessions: A 'total disaster' and 'an embarrassment to the great state of Alabama' Mueller rejoins DC law firm Lewandowski says Mueller report was 'very clear' in proving 'there was no obstruction,' despite having 'never' read it MORE judged the evidence insufficient to accuse Trump of criminal wrongdoing.

However, Democrats have argued the report contains clear evidence that Trump committed crimes and would have been charged if not for the Justice Department Office of Legal Counsel opinion stating a sitting president cannot be indicted.

The number of Democrats supporting a formal impeachment inquiry against Trump has ticked up in the wake of Mueller’s public congressional testimony last week. 

The House Judiciary Committee has filed an application seeking the grand jury material underlying Mueller’s report, saying the panel needs it to decide whether to recommend articles of impeachment against Trump. 

Still, House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiTurkey sanctions face possible wall in GOP Senate Trump lashes out at Pelosi as she visits Jordan to discuss Syria Thomas D'Alesandro III, brother of Nancy Pelosi, dies at 90 MORE (D-Calif.) has remained against beginning formal impeachment proceedings, saying Democrats need to focus on their investigations of Trump and his administration and related court battles.