Congress

Rep. Rashida Tlaib renews calls for impeachment, but Democratic leadership hesitates

The Democratic Caucus will have a conference call on Monday to discuss next steps

Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., attends a House Financial Services Committee organizational meeting in Rayburn Building on January 30, 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Rashida Tlaib renewed her calls to impeach President Donald Trump on Thursday in light of new revelations about the president’s potentially criminal efforts to impede the special counsel’s investigation into his campaign.

“It’s not only up to Congress to hold Trump accountable, it’s our job to do so,” the progressive first-term congresswoman said in a tweet. 

But Democratic colleagues have been slow to sign onto Tlaib’s resolution to direct the House Judiciary Committee to explore initiating impeachment proceedings.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a Dear Colleague letter Thursday evening that party rank-and-file will have a conference call on Monday “to discuss this grave matter.” 

Pelosi, who is with a delegation to Northern Ireland this week, largely declined to address the Mueller report during a media availability Friday morning.

“The Congress of the United States will honor its oath of office to protect and defend the constitution of the United States, to protect our democracy,” Pelosi said.

Pelosi has ruled out prosecuting the president in the past.

“That is not an initiative of our House caucus,” the California Democrat said after Tlaib first introduced the resolution in March. 

Tlaib secured two more cosponsors for the impeachment resolution Thursday, fellow progressive freshman Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota. Along with Rep. Al Green of Texas, who introduced the resolution with Tlaib in March, that brings the number of cosponsors to sign onto the resolution to just three.

House Minority Leader Steny Hoyer moved the possibility of impeachment off the table, saying the party would prefer to oust Trump by winning the White House in 2020.

But the Maryland Democrat then backtracked, clarifying that “all options ought to remain on the table” but that further action would require an unreacted report and the underlying documents. 

Even Democrats who have introduced articles of impeachment in the past expressed skepticism about taking action to remove the president in high-profile hearings detailing his wrongdoing, citing the likely insurmountable roadblock of a Republican-held Senate, Politico reported.

Special Prosecutor Robert S. Mueller III detailed how Trump sought to impede the probe into how his campaign was aided by the Russia government, but effectively deferred a determination about obstruction of justice charges to Congress.

“With respect to whether the President can be found to have obstructed justice by exercising his powers under Article II of the Constitution, we concluded that Congress has the authority to prohibit a President’s corrupt use of his authority in order to protect the integrity of the administration of justice,” Mueller wrote.

In her tweet renewing her call for impeachment, Tlaib shared a video of an earlier speech she made on the House floor. Tlaib centered those remarks not on wrongdoing during the 2016 campaign, but on the corrupt use of the imprimatur of the White House to generate business for the Trump Organization since his inauguration into office.

The Michigan congresswoman cited a report by the watchdog group the Center for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington detailing the frequency with which the president, federal officials, foreign governments and special interest groups have patronized Trump properties.

Watch: Barr on Mueller report ahead of release: ‘No collusion’

Lindsey McPherson contributed to this report. 

 

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