The day after the release of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s report, reaction from 2020 Democrats — as well as one leading Republican — intensified.
Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren on Friday called for the House to begin impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump, while Utah Sen. Mitt Romney said he was “sickened” by the “dishonesty” coming from the White House.
Warren’s statement was the strongest reaction so far to the release of the report into Russian interference in the 2016 election, and Trump’s efforts thwart an investigation that followed, from the crowded field of 2020 presidential hopefuls. Most candidates condemned Attorney General William Barr and his handling of the investigation on Thursday.
“The severity of this misconduct demands that elected officials in both parties set aside political considerations and do their constitutional duty,” Warren said on Twitter. “That means the House should initiate impeachment proceedings against the President of the United States.”
California Rep. Eric Swalwell, who called on Barr to resign on Thursday, told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that night, “We should not take impeachment off the table.” Washington Gov. Jay Inslee largely said the same.
Appearing on MSNBC Thursday night, California Sen. Kamala Harris said of impeachment, “There is definitely a conversation to be had on that subject but first I want to hear from Bob Mueller.”
New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, who sits next to Harris on the Judiciary Committee, issued a statement Thursday calling Trump’s behavior “incredibly alarming” and criticizing the actions Barr took ahead of the report’s release, but got no closer to discussing impeachment than to call for Mueller to appear before the committee.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday night her caucus would have a conference call to discuss the Mueller report on Monday, the first day possible because of the Easter and Passover holidays.
The House could being the process of impeachment with a simple majority vote, but it would take a two-thirds vote by the Republican-controlled Senate to remove Trump from office.
When Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff of California was asked about impeachment on CNN Thursday night, he said that he felt as a former prosecutor, “You don’t bring a case if you don’t believe you’re going to be successful with it, just to try the case.”
Republicans have largely defended Barr and argued that Mueller’s report exonerates Trump.
But Romney, the GOP’s 2012 presidential nominee, had much stronger words for the administration in a statement on Friday afternoon. He first said he he was glad there was “insufficient evidence” to charge Trump.
“Even so, I am sickened at the extent and pervasiveness of dishonesty and misdirection by individuals in the highest office of the land, including the President,” Romney said.
“I am also appalled that, among other things, fellow citizens working in a campaign for president welcomed help from Russia — including information that had been illegally obtained; that none of them acted to inform American law enforcement; and that the campaign chairman was actively promoting Russian interests in Ukraine,” Romney continued.
Watch: Barr discusses Mueller report before its release