To Impeach Trump or Not: Where 2020 Democrats Stand
Democratic candidates will take the debate stage once again on Tuesday and Wednesday night in the second Democratic debates of the early 2020 election cycle.
But there’s another issue stirring up party members, as House Democrats decide whether or not to throw their support behind opening an impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump’s presidency.
Former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s testimony last week before the House Judiciary Committee renewed calls among some Democrats to open impeachment proceedings against the president. There are now more than 100 House Democrats openly supporting at least starting the impeachment inquiry process.
Here’s where every 2020 Democrat stands on the matter:
Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren has been outspoken about opening an impeachment inquiry, stating that lawmakers should go on the record with their positions on the matter. Most recently, while speaking at an NAACP conference in Detroit, the Massachusetts senator said the same, adding, “This is a man who has broken the law and he should be impeached.” Warren was the first presidential candidate to push for impeachment following the release of the Mueller report.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders was previously conflicted on whether to impeach the president, but ultimately supports the House in efforts to begin an impeachment inquiry. Speaking at the NAACP conference, Sanders said, “the president did everything that he could to obstruct the Mueller investigation.”
California Sen. Kamala Harris has supported House efforts to begin impeachment proceedings. “What Robert Mueller basically did was return an impeachment referral,” the senator said on Twitter earlier this year. “Now it is up to Congress to hold this president accountable. We need to start impeachment proceedings.”
New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker held the position earlier this year that opening impeachment proceedings “is the only path forward.” However, Booker has more recently argued Democrats should instead focus their efforts on removing Trump from the White House “at the ballot box.”
South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg warned that an impeachment proceeding would be delayed in the Republican-led Senate, agreeing that the best way forward is to “defeat [Trump] in November of 2020.” Buttigieg’s campaign did not respond to further requests for comment.
Earlier this year, a spokesperson for former Vice President Joe Biden said he agrees with Pelosi that an impeachment process would be divisive, “but that it may be unavoidable if this administration continues on its path.” Biden’s campaign did not respond to further requests for comment.
Former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke has openly expressed his support for opening an impeachment inquiry since 2017. “For more than a year, I have said I would vote to begin impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump after he invited an attack on our democracy, obstructed the investigation into it, and made clear there will be no consequences for launching another one on our political system,” he said in a statement.
In his recent appearance on ABC’s “This Week With George Stephanopoulos,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said he supports holding impeachment proceedings. But, the mayor also took the position that Trump should be impeached “at the ballot box.”
Former Housing Secretary Julián Castro said in May that Congress should begin an impeachment inquiry. “No one is above the law,” he wrote on Twitter. When reached for comment, Liza Acevedo, Castro’s Deputy Press Secretary said: “Secretary Castro was the first 2020 candidate to support opening up impeachment proceedings.”
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York has said the House should begin impeachment proceedings. “We cannot let this president defy basic accountability measures built into our Constitution,” she said earlier this year.
In an interview with MSNBC’s David Gura over the weekend, Montana Gov. Steve Bullock said he would not support impeachment. “At this point, I’m not in favor of impeachment,” Bullock said.
When reached for comment, a spokesperson for Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet said the senator “believes Donald Trump committed impeachable offenses. However, what we should not do is pursue a moral victory on impeachment at the cost of an electoral victory in November. We need to remove Trump from office by beating him in 2020.”
Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar has stated that impeachment would be up to the House, but she told CNN last month: “I would support an impeachment proceeding beginning now.” Most recently, while speaking in Detroit the senator said Trump must “stop the racism” and “leave the White House.”
Former Maryland Rep. John Delaney said earlier this year that “we should trust Nancy Pelosi” on whether or not to move forward with impeachment. Delaney’s campaign could not be reached for additional comment.
Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has not made a statement in support of impeachment. Gabbard did not vote on recent impeachment articles brought forward by Texas Rep. Al Green. Her campaign did not respond to requests for comment.
In May, former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper supported opening an impeachment inquiry. He added more recently that doing so could “become a vehicle to help.” Hickenlooper’s campaign could not be reached for additional comment.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee held the position ahead of the first Democratic debates that the House should open an impeachment inquiry. His campaign did not respond to requests for additional comment.
In a statement to Fortune, Miramar, Florida Mayor Wayne Messam’s campaign said: “Mayor Messam feels there is compelling evidence that supports the House of Representatives to open an impeachment inquiry. He also feels that congress should act swiftly and continue to work on the behalf of the American people by passing legislation addressing Access to Healthcare, Infrastructure, and other high priorities. An impeachment Inquiry should not be a distraction.”
Former Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan previously said the matter should be deferred to the House of Representatives. During a CNN Town Hall, Ryan later called for the House to launch an impeachment inquiry.
When reached for comment, former Pennsylvania Rep. Joe Sestak said, “Congress has a constitutional duty to impeach and hold a trial if there is clear, compelling evidence of crimes by the President, regardless of the political consequences.” Sestak added that the House has a “responsibility to conduct a thorough inquiry into the conclusions” of Mueller’s investigation.
Billionaire activist and philanthropist Tom Steyer called for Trump’s impeachment in 2017, and began circulating a petition to garner support on the matter. The petition later helped launch Steyer’s Need to Impeach organization.
Spiritual activist and entrepreneur Marianne Williamson says she will “harness love” to beat Trump in 2020, but has not stated her position on impeachment. Williamson’s team did not respond to requests for comment.
Former tech executive Andrew Yang said in an April 2019 tweet he would focus on beating Trump “at the ballot box.” Yang’s campaign did not respond to requests for additional comment.
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