Elizabeth Warren has become the first 2020 election candidate to make a clear call for impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump following the release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s redacted report.
The Massachusetts senator tweeted that it would be damaging to “ignore a president’s repeated efforts to obstruct an investigation into his own disloyal behaviour” and would allow future presidents to act in the same way.
She added: “The severity of this misconduct demands that elected officials in both parties set aside political considerations and do their constitutional duty. That means the House should initiate impeachment proceedings against the president of the United States.”
Mr Mueller, who examined whether Mr Trump’s campaign coordinated with Russia during the 2016 election and whether the president tried to interfere with the inquiry, made no clear verdict on obstruction of justice.
His report did, however, lay out 11 possible attempts to influence the investigation – although he indicated the president was “mostly unsuccessful” because his aides refused to carry out orders.
Other Democrats running in 2020 have been more cautious on impeachment than Ms Warren in their response to the publication. Julian Castro said it would be “perfectly reasonable for congress to open up those proceedings”.
Both Jay Inslee of Washington and Eric Swalwell – both of whom have recently launched presidential campaigns – said only that the idea should not be taken off the table.
Other Democratic candidates, including senators Cory Booker and Kamala Harris, suggested it was too soon to start impeachment proceedings.
The severity of this misconduct demands that elected officials in both parties set aside political considerations and do their constitutional duty. That means the House should initiate impeachment proceedings against the President of the United States.— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren)April 19, 2019
“We don’t have an unredacted version of the report. We don’t have the underlying materials that that report was written upon. We haven’t had yet an opportunity to have hearings where we interview Mueller,” said Mr Booker said during a campaign stop in Reno, Nevada.
“I think that’s there definitely a conversation to be had on that subject, but first I want to hear from Bob Mueller and really understand what exactly is the evidence that supports the summary that we’ve been given,” said Ms Harris on impeachment hearings.
Pete Buttigieg, the Indiana mayor also running for the White House, suggested it was not the best way to get rid of Mr Trump.
He told NBC’s Late Night with Seth Meyers: “If we really want to send Trumpism into the history books, the best thing we can do is defeat it decisively at the ballot box in 2020.”
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, while not running in 2020, has signed on to an impeachment resolution from fellow Democrat, Rashida Tlaib.
The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Jerrold Nadler, has issued a subpoena for the full Mueller report and expects the Justice Department to comply by 1 May. Attorney general William Barr is to appear before the committee on 2 May, while Mr Nadler has also summoned Mr Mueller to testify by 23 May.
The only Republican who had declared he will run against Donald Trump in 2020 said on Friday he was “horrified” by special counsel Robert Mueller’s report, but said he could not back impeachment for “political reasons”.
The former Massachusetts governor Bill Weld told ABC News: “It’s very unlikely that he would ever be convicted in the Senate where you need a two thirds vote”.