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Democrats Divided on Impeachment Question

They're debating next step after Mueller release
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 19, 2019 6:47 AM CDT
Democrats' Big Question: Now What?
"The responsibility now falls to Congress to hold the president accountable for his actions," Nadler says.   (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

(Newser) – To impeach or not impeach? That is the question Democrats are pondering after the release of the Mueller report. Democrats are split on whether to use the report's findings to impeach the president or campaign against him in 2020, the Wall Street Journal reports. Left-wing Democrats including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez say they will sign an impeachment resolution, but others fear the move will only energize Trump supporters. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has repeatedly argued against opening impeachment proceedings, saying she will only back the move if there is Republican support. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, who has asked Robert Mueller to testify before his committee, says impeachment is "one possibility" as investigations continue. More:

  • Waters breaks ranks. Rep. Maxine Waters was among Democrats who broke ranks with party leaders Thursday, arguing that Congress has a responsibility to act, the New York Times reports. "Congress's failure to impeach would set a dangerous precedent and imperil the nation as it would vest too much power in the executive branch and embolden future officeholders to further debase the US presidency, if that’s even possible," she said.
  • Republicans want an apology. Politico reports that House Republicans celebrated what they saw as an exoneration, while their Senate counterparts were more cautious, saying they would study the report. Leading House Republicans called for an end to the Democratic investigations of Trump, with Rep. Steve Scalise arguing that the party "ought to apologize to the American people."

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  • "Not worthwhile." House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer says that while the report shows that Trump tried to obstruct justice on multiple occasions, he would rather let the American people decide. "Based on what we have seen to date, going forward on impeachment is not worthwhile at this point," Hoyer told CNN on Thursday. "Very frankly, there is an election in 18 months, and the American people will make a judgment."
  • Bernie Sanders weighs in. The Vermont senator, like other Democratic 2020 hopefuls, denounced the behavior described in the report but stopped short of mentioning impeachment, the Washington Post reports. "While we have more detail from today’s report than before, Congress must continue its investigation into Trump’s conduct and any foreign attempts to influence our election," he said Thursday.
  • "Damning portrait of the White House." Politico—one of many news outlets calling Mueller's report a "damning portrait"—calls the report a "damning portrait of a dysfunctional Trump White House," where "aides routinely disregard the wishes of a president with little regard for the traditional boundaries of his office."

  • "Damning portrait of the president." Julie Pace at the AP calls the report a "damning portrait of a president consumed by the investigation." He "pushed the boundaries of presidential powers and the law, revealing a commander in chief consumed by self-interest and intent on having his top lieutenants lie or obfuscate on his behalf," she writes. "The fact that many refused to do so may have helped save Trump from being charged with obstructing justice."
  • "Damning portrait of Trump's presidency." At the Washington Post, Dan Balz says the report "provides a damning portrait of the president and those around him for actions taken during the 2016 campaign and while in office." Beyond the question of criminality, he writes, the report should lead to "questions that go to the heart of what is acceptable or normal or advisable in a democracy."
(Read more Mueller report stories.)

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