After spending his campaign so far avoiding coming down firmly on either side of the debate about impeaching President Donald Trump, Democratic hopeful Beto O’Rourke has now come out clearly in favor of it, Dallas News reports. As a member of the House, he has twice voted against impeachment and has generally avoided articulating his position on the matter, even when questioned directly.
Even just two weeks ago, O’Rourke hedged in response to then-breaking revelations surrounding the release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on his investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. At the time, he indicated that as a presidential candidate, it wasn’t his place to express an opinion on the matter.
In remarks to reporters in New Hampshire, O’Rourke indicated that he would leave the matter to the House and that realistically, Trump’s fate would not be decided by Congress, but rather by the American people in the 2020 election.
Now, however, that seems to have changed.
“We’re finally learning the truth about this president. And yes, there has to be consequences. Yes, there has to be accountability. Yes, I think there’s enough evidence now for the House of Representatives to move forward with impeachment,” he said in a recent interview, which was conducted by The Dallas Morning News.
“This is our country, and this is the one chance that we get to ensure that it remains a democracy and that no man, regardless of his position, is above the law.”
With the shift in position, O’Rourke now joins just a small number of Democratic primary contenders on the record in favor of impeaching the president. Senator Elizabeth Warren led the field as the first to do so, coming out in favor of impeachment on the same day that Mueller’s report was delivered to Congress. Senator Kamala Harris followed up with the same conclusion a few days later and Julián Castro, former housing secretary, expressed a similar sentiment after that.
O’Rourke, according to his interview responses, attributed his position on impeachment to Trump’s relationship with Russia and his response to Mueller’s investigation. He claims that Trump “welcomed the participation of a foreign power into our election, that sought to sway that election in his favor” and “clearly obstructed justice in firing the principal investigator.”
Additionally, according to O’Rourke, Trump directed his attorney general to end the investigation and generally created a “climate of fear” at the White House in furtherance of such activities.
“He almost got away with it,” he said.