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 TrumpDemocrat calls on White House to withdraw ambassador to Belarus nominee TikTok collected data from mobile devices to track Android users: report Peterson wins Minnesota House primary in crucial swing district 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 McConnellMcConnell warns control of Senate 'could go either way' in November On The Money: McConnell says it's time to restart coronavirus talks | New report finds majority of Americans support merger moratorium | Corporate bankruptcies on pace for 10-year high McConnell: Time to restart coronavirus talks 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 BennetKamala Harris makes history — as a Westerner Expanding our health force can save lives and create jobs simultaneously How Congress is preventing a Medicare bankruptcy during COVID-19 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) MuellerCNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout 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 HarrisNAACP seeks to boost Black voter turnout in six states Biden touts Trump saying Harris would be 'fine choice' for VP pick Kamala Harris: The conventional (and predictable) pick all along 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 BookerCalifornia Dems back Yang after he expresses disappointment over initial DNC lineup Obamas, Clintons to headline Biden's nominating convention Senators ask for removal of tariffs on EU food, wine, spirits: report 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 BlasioCuomo calls on NYPD to 'step up' in enforcing coronavirus regulations at bars Feehery: Weak mayors destroy America's great cities Dozens of state, local health leaders fired or resigned amid pandemic: report 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 BarrBill BarrKamala Harris: The right choice at the right time Hillicon Valley: Facebook removed over 22 million posts for hate speech in second quarter | Republicans introduce bill to defend universities against hackers targeting COVID-19 research | Facebook's Sandberg backs Harris as VP pick Three pros and three cons to Biden picking Harris MORE and then-Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinFBI officials hid copies of Russia probe documents fearing Trump interference: book Sally Yates to testify as part of GOP probe into Russia investigation Graham releases newly declassified documents on Russia probe 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 PelosiKamala Harris makes history — as a Westerner On The Money: McConnell says it's time to restart coronavirus talks | New report finds majority of Americans support merger moratorium | Corporate bankruptcies on pace for 10-year high McConnell: Time to restart coronavirus talks 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.