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DETROIT — Some Democratic presidential candidates are doubling down on their calls for Donald Trump’s impeachment, just a day after the nation’s largest civil rights organization told the House to get it together and vote on the measure already.
At its annual conference in Detroit, the NAACP unanimously passed a resolution calling for the House to begin impeachment proceedings, which has split House Democrats. More than 80 want to begin an inquiry, but Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has continued to oppose that move. Now, a number of 2020 Democrats have joined in the call, once again.
“You have just called for the impeachment of Donald Trump. I read the Mueller report the day it came out … when I got to the end, I did not stick my finger in the air and ask about the politics. I did not hesitate,” said Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), the first candidate to come out for impeachment earlier this year. “This is a man who has broken the law, and he should be impeached.”
The candidates’ comments come the same day that special counsel Robert Mueller testified on Capital Hill about his team’s report that outlined several instances where Trump may have obstructed the Russia investigation — although they didn’t charge him with any crimes. And Warren wasn’t the only one to address the contentious topic.
The NAACP’s move to unanimously back a resolution now puts more pressure on both the candidates and the Democratic House members to move on the issue.
“The pattern of Trump’s misconduct is unmistakable and has proven time and time again that he is unfit to serve as the president of this country," NAACP President Derrick Johnson said in a statement following the organization’s move Tuesday. “Trump needs to know that he is not above the law and the crimes that he has committed and he must be prosecuted. We will make sure that the NAACP is at the forefront of pushing Congress to proceed with the impeachment process.”
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) said Mueller’s testimony reconfirmed what the report showed: that the only reason Trump isn’t facing charges is because he's president. And she attacked Attorney General Bill Barr for willfully “misleading the American people” about what was in the report.
“I am very clear that there are outlined incidents of obstruction of justice, and no matter what this current attorney general and this president try to say, the American people are smart enough to know what is and what is not true,” said Harris, who called in April for an impeachment inquiry to begin.
“He is not exonerated,” said Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who has also called for the House to begin an impeachment inquiry. “Look, we know for a fact that the president did everything that he could to obstruct the Mueller investigation.”
And Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) said the report proved that “in America, as someone once said, 'The law is king, the king is not the law.'”
Not every candidate was asked about the contentious topic, and plenty decided to take a pass to instead focus on economic and civil rights topics to woo members of the powerful organization. Former Vice President Joe Biden, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas), and South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D) didn’t mention the issue that was dominating headlines Wednesday.
Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) said the House “should begin impeachment proceedings.”
But he called for Democrats to focus on beating Trump at the ballot box and raised an obvious truth: Even if the House impeaches Trump, it’s highly unlikely that the Senate would vote to remove him.
“This is a Congress right now that’s divided,” Booker said. “The power of the people is greater than the people in power, and we need to be ready to beat Donald Trump in the 2020 elections.”
Cover image: Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., speaks during a candidates forum at the 110th NAACP National Convention, Wednesday, July 24, 2019, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)