Trump tweeted on Sunday evening: ‘How do you impeach a Republican President for a crime that was committed by the Democrats?
‘MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!’
Trump claims that Democrats committed their ‘crime’ by conspiring to derail his presidency through the special counsel Robert Mueller probe into his alleged ties with the Russians.
Trump said earlier this month that Justice Department officials who organized and conducted Mueller’s ‘illegal’ 22-month probe into Russian election interference were trying to seize the reins of the U.S. government from him.
‘This was an attempted coup. An attempt to take down the president. And we beat them,’ he told reporters on April 10. The president tweeted after several Democrats, including Rep. Adam Schiff, spoke about the possibility of impeachment hearings.
‘That’s going to be a very consequential decision and one that I’m going to reserve judgement on until we have a chance to deliberate about it,’ Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, told ‘Fox News Sunday.’
Meuller’s report found that there was no criminal collusion between the Trump administration and Russia. On Sunday Trump blamed the ‘other side’ for creating a ‘diversionary & criminal event’ to disrupt his presidency.
Meanwhile, House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler said on Sunday that Congress might hold an impeachment inquiry on Trump if that is where the evidence leads them.
‘We may get to that. We may not. As I’ve said before, it is our job to go through all the evidence, all the information we can get,’ he said Sunday on NBC’s ‘Meet the Press.
‘Obstruction of justice, if proven, would be impeachable,’ he added.
‘If we pursue this, we might put ourselves in an impossible position because we would then have to charge the president with a crime which the Justice Department won’t permit us to do,’ he noted.
Longtime Justice Department policy forbids a legal indictment of a sitting president. Nadler’s warning to Trump comes as he pursues a full, unredacted copy of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report.
The Democrat from New York has subpoenaed such a copy and had asked Mueller to testify before his committee. He told NBC News he also wants to hear from former White House counsel Don McGahn who told Mueller’s team that Trump asked him to fire the special counsel.
McGahn threatened to resign instead and Trump was reported to have dropped the matter. Attorney General William Barr is scheduled to testify before Nadler’s committee early next month.
‘We have to hear from Barr. We have to hear from Mueller. We have to hear from other people, like Don McGahn, whom we’re going to call. We have to get the entire report, including the redacted material, so we can evaluate it,’ Nadler said.
Barr offered to let a bipartisan group of lawmakers look at a less redacted version of the report – but would not include evidence being used in grand juries. Democrats refused, saying they want to see the full, unredacted report. The matter will likely end up in federal court.
House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff said echoed Nadler’s impeachment threat on Sunday when he said that Democrats may take up impeachment against President Trump.
‘It may be that we undertake an impeachment,’ he told ABC’s ‘This Week. I think what we’re going to have to decide as a caucus is what is the best thing for the country. Is the best thing for the country to take up an impeachment proceeding because to do otherwise sends a message that this conduct is somehow compatible with office or is it in the best interest of the country not to take up an impeachment that we know will not be successful in the Senate because the Republican leadership will not do its duty?,’ he added.
Schiff noted it is a difficult decision.
‘I think it’s a very difficult decision and we’re going to have a caucus about this over the next couple of weeks to try to figure out what the best course is, not for the party, but what’s the best course for the country,’ he said on ‘Fox News Sunday. I continue to think that a failed impeachment is not in the national interest,’ he added. Rep. Elijah Cummings, the chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, said it wasn’t time for impeachment – not yet anyway. I’m not there yet, but I can foresee that possibly coming,’ he said Sunday on CBS’ ‘Face the Nation. But again the fact is is that I think we have to be very careful here. The American people – a lot of them clearly still don’t believe that President Trump is doing things to destroy our democracy and has done a lot of things very poorly. And so I think that we need to make sure the Congress has all the information and then we need to be able to have the public know that information so that they can see that they have a president that basically has been about the business, I think, of doing great harm not only to our country but to our democracy,’ he added.
Schiff did say he thinks the president is guilty of ‘impeachable offences. I think without question within the realm of impeachable offenses,’ the California Democrat noted on ABC.
But, he added, Trump has Republicans in Congress – like House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell – to defend him, making it unlikely impeachment will be successful.
‘We are, unfortunately, in an environment today where the GOP leadership, people like Kevin McCarthy, are willing to carry the president’s water no matter how corrupt or unethical or dishonest the president’s conduct may be. And in those kind of circumstances, when Mitch McConnell will not stand up to the president either, it means that an impeachment is likely to be unsuccessful,’ he said.
Impeachment proceedings is a two-step process in the United States. The House undertakes the investigation and then votes on passing articles of impeachment. Should those pass the official in question is ‘impeached’ and the matter moves to the Senate.
The Senate tries the accused. If it is the president, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court presides over the trial. Two thirds of the Senate must find the person guilty of impeachable offenses for the official to be convicted.
Given Republican control of the Senate it is unlikely Trump would be convicted should it reach that stage. Several liberal lawmakers, such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rep. Ilhan Omar, are calling for an impeachment investigation.
Mueller’s report found no evidence of collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russia. The special counsel, however, left it up to Attorney General William Barr to determine if obstruction charges should be pressed against President Trump.
Barr, working with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, said there was no obstruction. Democrats, however, have latched on to this line from Mueller’s 448-page report:
‘If we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would state so. Based on the facts and applicable legal standards, however, we are unable to reach that judgment.’
Mueller also noted in his report that Congress can still prosecute Trump for obstruction.
‘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,’ he wrote.