Warren Becomes First 2020 Candidate to Call for Impeachment Proceedings Against Trump

'This is not something I want to do'

April 20, 2019

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) became the first 2020 presidential candidate to call for the initiation of impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump on Friday, calling it the "constitutional duty" of Congress following the findings of the Robert Mueller report.

Warren sent out a series of tweets Friday afternoon saying the partially redacted Mueller report released Thursday had laid out the facts of Russian interference in the 2016 election and wrote Trump "obstructed the investigation into that attack." There was no other recourse for his actions than impeachment, she said.

"To ignore a President’s repeated efforts to obstruct an investigation into his own disloyal behavior would inflict great and lasting damage on this country, and it would suggest that both the current and future Presidents would be free to abuse their power in similar ways," she tweeted. "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."

Warren told MSNBC's Rachel Maddow on Friday that she read the full report and insisted it wasn't anything personal regarding Trump, with whom she has clashed repeatedly.

"This isn't about politics," Warren said. "This isn't even specifically about Donald Trump himself. It is about what a president of the United States should be able to do, and what the role of Congress is in saying, no, a president does not get to come in and stop an investigation about a foreign power that attacked this country or an investigation about his own wrongdoing."

The Mueller report cleared Trump and his campaign of the centrally investigated claims of conspiracy and coordination with the Russians, but it laid out examples of Trump attempting to impede the investigation and suggested Congress could still investigate further.

"The conclusion that Congress may apply obstruction laws to the President’s corrupt exercise of the powers of office accords with our constitutional system of checks and balances and the principle that no person is above the law," the report said.

With a majority in the House, the Democrats could impeach Trump on a party-line vote on whatever articles they hypothetically brought forward. They would face an uphill battle to actually removing him from office, however, needing a two-thirds majority in the Senate to convict. Republicans control 53 of the 100 seats in that chamber.

Warren said she would desire impeachment proceedings even if she had a crystal ball and knew the Senate wouldn't vote to remove Trump from office.

"I get it," she said. "In dictatorships, the government coalesces around the one person in the middle and does everything to protect that one person. But that's not where we live."

"This is not something I want to do," she added. "That's not the point. It's a point of principle, and every member of the House, and every member of the Senate should be called on to vote ... I do believe the evidence is just overwhelming that Donald Trump has committed these offenses."

Warren has barely discussed Russia or the Mueller probe on the campaign trail, and her own team says she hardly gets questioned by voters about the probe that has been the fixation of Washington and the media for two years. Her candidacy has been marked by numerous, staunchly progressive policy proposals, although she's failed to make solid headway in the polls or fundraising.