Democrats to meet in the next few weeks to discuss impeachment of Trump, key lawmaker says

Felicia Sonmez, Michelle Lee

House Democrats will hold a meeting to discuss whether to pursue impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump, a key lawmaker said on Sunday.

House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff said on Fox News Sunday that the House Democratic caucus will meet in the coming weeks to discuss the matter.

“That’s going to be a very consequential decision and one that I’m going to reserve judgment on until we’ve had a chance to fully deliberate on it,” Mr Schiff said.

In an appearance on ABC News’ “This Week,” Mr Schiff also said that while the findings of the Mueller report are “serious and damning,” he does not believe the Senate would convict Mr Trump if the House were to impeach him.

“Now, it may be that we undertake an impeachment nonetheless. I think what we are going to have to decide as a caucus is: What is the best thing for the country?” he said.

Democrats have been divided over impeachment since the Thursday release of special counsel Robert Mueller III’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 election.

On Friday, two 2020 Democratic presidential contenders – Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Julián Castro, who was housing and urban development secretary in the Obama administration – seized on the report’s findings to make the case for impeachment.

But others, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., have urged members of their party to hold off on any impeachment proceedings and instead continue their investigations of Mr Trump.

The Democratic split grew Sunday as another presidential candidate, Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio, said it was too soon to formally open impeachment proceedings.

Ryan said that it was “pretty clear” that the president obstructed justice and that the Mueller report portrayed a “very, very, very serious” set of circumstances, but that House committees should continue with their oversight of Mr Trump.

“Let the Judiciary Committee look at this,” Ryan said on CNN’s “State of the Union,” stressing that Democrats need to “educate the American people” on the investigation. “Let’s see where that leads.”

Mr Trump has sought to discredit portions of the Mueller report, including in a Friday tweet in which he dismissed assertions that he may have obstructed justice as “total bullshit.”

On Sunday, Rudy Giuliani, Mr Trump’s personal attorney, defended the president’s tweet.

“There’s nothing wrong with taking information from Russians,” Mr Giuliani said on “State of the Union,” suggesting that campaigns regularly receive information from unusual sources.

Mr Giuliani said he did not think his own 2008 presidential campaign would have accepted information from Russian sources but maintained that it would not have been illegal to have done so.

“There’s no crime,” he told host Jake Tapper.

The Washington Post