O’Rourke — who is one of the 23 Democrats running for president in 2020 — called on Congress to begin the impeachment process of the president during his CNN town hall event Tuesday night. The former congressman claimed Attorney General William Barr‘s no-show before Congress and the findings of the report from special counsel Robert Mueller are justifications for impeachment.
He claimed impeachment may be the only way to “find out what happened to this great democracy in 2016.”
Watch O’Rourke’s comments below:
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) May 22, 2019
“We should begin impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump. It’s not something that I take lightly. It’s an incredibly serious, sober decision that we should make as a country. Really, the last resort when every other option has failed us. And at this point, where the president has refused to respond to any subpoena, where his attorney general will not testify, where he will not furnish other witnesses so that we can find out what happened to this great democracy in 2016 and how we prevent future attacks in 2020 and beyond. A president who invited the involvement of a foreign power in this democracy in 2016 and did everything in his power to obstruct the investigation into what has happened.”
O’Rourke claimed Democrats shouldn’t worry about the political backlash of the impeachment because of the precedent it would set if Trump isn’t held accountable.
“If we do nothing because we are afraid of the polls or the politics or the repercussions in the next election, then we will have set a precedent for this country that, in fact, some people — because of the position of power and public trust that they hold — are above the law,” O’Rourke said.
He also noted the fate of American democracy rides on the decision to impeach Trump.
While O’Rourke may believe the “last resort” has arrived, Democratic leadership in the House disagrees. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has made it clear that she will not move forward with impeachment unless it is a bipartisan effort.