Trump vents anger over impeachment as congressional leaders deliberate removing him as president

Tom Barnes

Donald Trump has launched a fresh attack on Democrats, accusing the party of unspecified illegality following a weekend of talk about his possible impeachment.

Democratic leaders have refused to rule out starting proceedings to remove the president from office after a heavily-redacted version of the Mueller report was released on Thursday.

Some prominent party figures, including 2020 presidential hopefuls Elizabeth Warren and Julian Castro, have gone further by making outright calls for the impeachment process to begin.

Mr Trump has responded to that prospect by claiming the Democrats have orchestrated a criminal conspiracy in order to undermine his administration, while providing no evidence.

“How do you impeach a Republican President for a crime that was committed by the Democrats?” Mr Trump said on Twitter.

The president’s accusation followed a day in which several Democrats had raised the possibility of impeachment in interviews.

House judiciary committee chairman Jerrold Nadler, whose panel would spearhead any such proceedings, said Democrats would “see where the facts lead us” after completing their own investigation.

“Obstruction of justice, if proven, would be impeachable,” Mr Nadler told NBC’s Meet the Press.

A redacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election was issued last week following a 22-month investigation.

The findings detailed numerous occasions in which Mr Trump attempted to thwart the probe. While it fell short of concluding he had committed a crime, it failed to exonerate him.

Crucially, Mr Mueller also noted congress has the power to address whether the president had broken the law – and Democrats are expected to discuss what action to take in the coming weeks.

“That’s going to be a very consequential decision and one I’m going to reserve judgment on until we have a chance to fully deliberate on it,” house intelligence committee chairman Adam Schiff told Fox News Sunday.

Democrats, who control the House of Representatives, planned a conference call for Monday afternoon to discuss their next steps in response to the Mueller report.

Mr Nadler issued a subpoena to the Justice Department to hand over the full, unredacted report and underlying evidence by 1 May.

Before drawing any conclusions, he said Democrats wanted to hear from Mr Mueller and attorney general William Barr, who is scheduled to testify in early May.

Mr Trump has claimed complete vindication from the Mueller investigation after a summary of findings was released by Mr Barr in March.

However, since larger sections of the conclusions have been made public, the president has also attacked the report, describing its authors as “Angry Democrats” and Trump Haters”.

He has called for an investigation of how the FBI began the probe, and has also tried to blame Democrats, accusing them of spying on his campaign.

Additional reporting by Reuters