Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) declined to support any potential impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump on Monday following the release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report regarding the 2016 election.
“Here is my concern: At the end of the day what is most important to me is to see that Donald Trump is not re-elected president,” Sanders said during a whirlwind evening of town hall events on CNN. “If, for the next year, year and a half, going right into the heart of the election, all that Congress is talking about is impeaching Trump … and we’re not talking about health care, we’re not talking about raising the minimum wage to a living wage, we’re not talking about combating climate change … what I worry about is that works to Trump’s advantage.”
This was one of five of CNN town halls with 2020 Democratic presidential candidates on Monday night. During her own event, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) doubled down on earlier calls for the House of Representatives — currently controlled by Democrats — to begin impeachment proceedings against Trump.
“There is no political inconvenience exception to the United States Constitution,” Warren said of any criticism that impeachment could hurt her party.
But Sanders and others seemed less inclined to take action. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) lobbed any calls on impeachment to the House, saying the chamber would have to “make that decision.”
“I am in the Senate and I believe that we are the jury,” Klobuchar said. “So if the House brings the impeachment proceedings before us, we will deal with them.”
Sanders echoed those calls, saying that Mueller’s report left open the door to any potential obstruction of justice charges against the president despite assertions from the attorney general that the inquiry had been completed and exonerated the president. The special counsel detailed 10 areas of potential obstruction of justice by Trump, but declined to say if they constituted a crime.
“I think there has got to be a thorough investigation,” Sanders said. “And I think the House Democrats will do it. I would very much appreciate if my Republican colleagues in the Senate … had the guts to do it as well, but I won’t hold my breath. So, I want to see that investigation. We’ll see where it goes, but right now, you know, that’s it.”
He continued: “The issue of obstruction, what Mueller said, is that was an open question.”