After the public release of a redacted version of Robert Mueller’s Russia report, some top Democrats are publicly moving away from the idea of impeaching Donald Trump.
In the months and years that led up to the report’s release, Trump’s presidency was dogged by allegations that he and his campaign colluded with Russia to interfere in the 2016 election. The report outlined a series of contacts between Trump campaign members and Russia, but found “sufficient evidence” to charge Trump on either colluding with Russia or obstructing justice on the Mueller probe afterward.
As the New York Times noted, Mueller then pushed back to Congress the question of whether Trump could be impeached.
“The conclusion that Congress may apply the 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,” Mueller wrote in the report.
As the report added, Democrats led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi must now weigh the prospects of attempting to impeach Trump. Pelosi had long said that they would only start impeachment efforts if it were clear that enough Republicans also supported the effort, as there would need to be 20 Senate Republicans who joined in impeaching Trump in order for a conviction.
Pelosi had also moved to quash other members of the Democratic caucus who led individual efforts to impeach Trump. She said repeatedly that Democrats must wait for the release of the full Russia report to determine if Trump committed any impeachable offenses, and would only move forward with significant evidence.
Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee who has led the House’s probe of Russian interference, echoed Pelosi’s sentiment on Thursday.
“Many of us do think the president is unfit for office, but unless that’s a bipartisan conclusion, an impeachment would be doomed to failure,” he said on CNN. “I continue to think that a failed impeachment is not in the national interest, and so we’ll see what’s been redacted from this report. We’ll continue to do our own work.”
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer says it would not be "worthwhile at this point" for House Democrats to pursue impeachment in the aftermath of the release of a redacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller's report https://t.co/L1xfKScfty pic.twitter.com/pw2wiFu5bz
— CNN (@CNN) April 18, 2019
Some have outright taken impeachment off the table. As Business Insider reported, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said after the report’s release that it was “not worthwhile” for Democrats to move forward with efforts to impeach Trump. Hoyer noted that there will be another presidential election in 18 months, so the American people will have the chance to decide about Trump.