Mueller statement moves Cory Booker to back impeachment

Presidential candidate Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., announced that he supports launching impeachment proceedings against President Trump in the wake of special counsel Robert Mueller’s public statement on Wednesday.

“Congress has a legal and moral obligation to begin impeachment proceedings immediately,” said Booker, who added that it is the “only path forward” amid what he described as the Trump administration’s stonewalling of congressional investigations.

From top left: Julian Castro, Beto O'Rourke, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Kamala Harris and Robert Mueller. (Photo illustration: Yahoo News; photos: AP(5), Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images, AP.)

Other Democratic presidential candidates renewed their calls for impeachment after Mueller noted that the Justice Department’s policy against indicting a sitting president was the reason he did not pursue criminal charges against Trump — contradicting the administration’s position that the evidence exonerated the president.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., joined Booker in calling for impeachment proceedings after Mueller’s statement.

“It's time for Congress to begin impeachment hearings and follow the facts,” Gillibrand said in a tweet. “Robert Mueller clearly expects Congress to exercise its constitutional authority and take steps that he could not.”

Like other candidates, Gillibrand based her support for impeachment on the Trump administration's stonewalling of congressional investigations. She previously said she wanted to hold hearings with Mueller before making a decision.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., was the first major presidential candidate to call for an impeachment inquiry in April after the release of the Mueller report. On Wednesday, she said the special counsel’s statement was “an impeachment referral” for Congress to take action.

Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., also called Mueller’s statement an “impeachment referral,” echoing Warren’s phrasing. “We need to start impeachment proceedings. It’s our constitutional obligation,” Harris tweeted. Harris announced her support for impeachment in April, a few days after Warren.

“There must be consequences, accountability, and justice,” wrote former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke on Twitter. “The only way to ensure that is to begin impeachment proceedings.”

O’Rourke has repeatedly said he supports an impeachment inquiry, and that he disagrees with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s view that impeachment proceedings would give Trump political gains.

Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., told NBC News on Wednesday that Mueller’s statement is “as close to an impeachment referral as you could get under the circumstances.”

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders issued a statement after Mueller’s remarks, asserting that “the report was clear — there was no collusion, no conspiracy — and the Department of Justice confirmed there was no obstruction.”

Former Vice President Joe Biden has said Congress has “no alternative” to impeachment if the Trump administration continues to ignore congressional investigations. Biden has not specifically called for impeachment.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., told CNN last week that “it may be time to at least begin the process” of impeachment. Sanders cautioned against allowing Trump to win political points from any impeachment proceeding.

Other Democratic presidential candidates who have called for impeachment are former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro, Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass., and Mayor Wayne Messam of Miramar, Fla.

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