Top congressional Democrats left the door open on Sunday to pursue the impeachment of U.S. President Donald Trump, but said they would first need to complete their own investigations into whether he obstructed justice in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe.
Democratic Party leaders have played down impeachment talk ahead of the 2020 presidential election, although prominent members of the party’s progressive wing, including White House candidate Senator Elizabeth Warren, have called for the start of proceedings since the release of Mueller’s report on Thursday.
U.S. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler said Democrats would press ahead on multiple investigations of Trump in Congress and would “go where the evidence leads.”
“Obstruction of justice, if proven, would be impeachable,” Nadler said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
A redacted version of Mueller’s long-awaited report, the product of a 22-month investigation, built a broad case that Trump had committed obstruction of justice but stopped short of concluding he had committed a crime, although it did not exonerate him.
Mueller noted that Congress has the power to address whether Trump violated the law, and Democrats said it would be a matter of discussion in the coming weeks.
“That’s going to be a very consequential decision and one I’m going to reserve judgment on until we have a chance to fully deliberate on it,” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff said on “Fox News Sunday.”
(Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch and Yasmeen Abutaleb; Additional reporting by John Whitesides and Tim Ahmann; Writing by John Whitesides; Editing by Bill Berkrot)