Kamala Harris says House should begin impeachment process of Trump

Sen. Bernie Sanders repeated his call to restore voting rights to felons, including the Boston Marathon bomber.

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By Allan Smith

Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., came out in favor of beginning the impeachment process against President Donald Trump on Monday night, joining Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., as major 2020 candidates who've called for impeachment proceedings after the release of special counsel Robert Mueller's report.

During a CNN town hall, Harris said she believes "Congress should take the steps toward impeachment." But, adding that she's "also a realist," Harris said it was highly unlikely that Senate Republicans would, if the House does vote to impeach Trump, vote to remove him from office.

"I've not seen any evidence to suggest that they will weigh on the facts instead of on partisan adherence to being protective of this president," she said. "And that's what concerns me and what will be the eventual outcome. So we have to be realistic about what might be the end result, but that doesn't mean the process should not take hold."

Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass., who announced a Democratic presidential bid on Monday, was asked by reporters before an event Tuesday where he falls on impeachment, considering Sen. Elizabeth Warren, the senator from his home state, was the first of the 2020 contenders to call for proceedings to begin.

“I voted on this over a year ago and I said that proceedings should move forward,” Moulton said, though he added, “It's not the right time to vote on impeachment because we don't have all the facts yet. We don't have the full version of the Mueller report. But we absolutely should move forward on the proceedings so we can have this debate in Congress, and frankly, I think it's long overdue, that's why I voted over a year ago to move forward with this debate.”

Moulton is the fourth Democratic presidential contender to call for proceedings to begin, following Warren, Harris, and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro.

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Impeachment chatter has gained steam among Democrats since a redacted version of Mueller's report was made public last week. In a Friday tweet, Warren called on the House to begin impeachment proceedings. She said during her own CNN town hall on Monday that she did so after reading the entire 400-plus page report.

"The severity of this misconduct demands that elected officials in both parties set aside political considerations and do their constitutional duty," Warren wrote Friday. "That means the House should initiate impeachment proceedings against the President of the United States."

On Sunday, the leaders of key House investigatory committees said that the possibility of impeachment proceedings was still on the table.

"I can foresee that possibly coming," House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings, D-Md., told CBS's "Face the Nation," adding that he was "not there yet" on impeachment itself.

Then on Monday, House Democratic leaders pledged to pursue investigations into Trump, though they did not commit to launching impeachment proceedings

"We have to save our democracy. This isn’t about Democrats or Republicans. It’s about saving our democracy," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said during a conference call with rank-and-file members, one person on the call told NBC News. “If it is what we need to do to honor our responsibility to the Constitution, if that’s the place the facts take us, that’s the place we have to go."

Mueller, in his extensive report on Russian election interference, looked into whether there was collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials and whether the president had obstructed justice. The report concluded that his investigators were unable to establish a Trump-Russia conspiracy and refused to provide a traditional prosecutorial decision on obstruction.

Mueller wrote that his probe had "established multiple links between Trump Campaign officials and individuals tied to the Russian government" but that it ultimately "did not establish that the Campaign coordinated or conspired with the Russian government in its election-interference activities."

On obstruction, Mueller wrote that if his team "had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state."

"Accordingly, while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him," he wrote, later saying that Trump's "efforts to influence the investigation were mostly unsuccessful because those who surrounded him declined to carry out orders or accede to his requests."

Felon voting rights

During the five-hour forum Monday night on CNN, Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent who has emerged as a front-runner in the crowded Democratic field and has pushed the party to the left in recent years, repeated his call to restore the voting rights of felons — including people like the Boston Marathon bomber, who killed three people and injured hundreds in 2013 with a pair of pressure-cooker bombers and was sentenced to death.

"I think the right to vote is inherent to our democracy," Sanders said. "Yes, even for terrible people."

Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel pounced on Sanders, saying on social media: "If you had any doubt about how radical the Democrat Party has become, their 2020 frontrunner wants to let terrorists convicted of murdering American citizens vote from prison. It's beyond extreme."