Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) on Friday called on the House to begin impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump, joining fellow 2020 presidential candidate Julián Castro, who said he supported the idea earlier in the afternoon.
“I think it would be perfectly reasonable for Congress to open up those proceedings,” Castro told CNN. “It’s clear that Bob Mueller in his report left that in the hands of Congress.”
Warren echoed those sentiments later on Friday.
“The Mueller report lays out facts showing that a hostile foreign government attacked our 2016 election to help Donald Trump and Donald Trump welcomed that help. Once elected, Donald Trump obstructed the investigation into that attack,” she said on Twitter.
“Mueller put the next step in the hands of Congress: ‘Congress has authority to prohibit a President’s corrupt use of his authority in order to protect the integrity of the administration of justice.’ The correct process for exercising that authority is impeachment,” she added.
Castro and Warren are the first 2020 candidates to call for Trump’s impeachment, and the latter is among only a handful of Democratic members of Congress who have done the same. Most of those calls are coming from freshman House Democrats, like Reps. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (D-NY), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI).
Democratic leadership has backed away from impeachment, instead saying voters should make their voices heard at the ballot box in 2020. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) said Thursday that “impeachment is not worthwhile at this point” because “there is an election in 18 months and the American people will make a judgment.” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) have not spoken about impeachment since the report came out, instead issuing a joint statement that simply said “the differences are stark between what Attorney General Barr said on obstruction and what Special Counsel Mueller said on obstruction.”
A redacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report — the product of a two-year investigation into links between the Trump campaign and Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election — concluded that Trump repeatedly tried to obstruct justice, but failed in large part because members of his own staff would not carry out his instructions. Mueller identified 10 potential instances of obstruction of justice, including when the president asked the FBI to stop investigating then-national security adviser Michael Flynn, drafted his son’s statement on the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting, and instructing the White House counsel to fire Mueller.
“The President’s efforts to influence the investigation were mostly unsuccessful, but that is largely because the persons who surrounded the President declined to carry out orders or accede to his requests,” the report states.
Mueller ultimately did not recommend filing obstruction charges against Trump due to Justice Department guidelines that a sitting president cannot be indicted.
“Because we determined not to make a traditional prosecutorial judgment, we did not draw ultimate conclusions about the President ‘s conduct,” the report states.
But the special counsel clearly states in the report that Congress doesn’t have the same limitations:
We concluded that Congress has authority to prohibit a President’s corrupt use of his authority in order to protect the integrity of the administration of justice… Under applicable Supreme Court precedent, the Constitution does not categorically and permanently immunize a President for obstructing justice through the use of his Article II powers.
Mueller doesn’t absolve Trump, but leaves it up to Congress to decide what to do.
“At the same time, if we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state. Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, we are unable to reach that judgment. Accordingly, while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him,” the special counsel wrote.
Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that Warren was the first 2020 presidential candidate to call for Trump’s impeachment. It has been corrected to include Castro’s comments from earlier on Friday.