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Democratic billionaire and impeachment crusader Tom Steyer won't run for president

The wealthy former hedge fund owner said that he would step up his efforts to remove Trump.
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DES MOINES — Billionaire Tom Steyer, a major Democratic donor who has led a crusade to impeach President Donald Trump, said Wednesday that he will not seek the party's 2020 presidential nomination.

The news was first reported by The New York Times and confirmed by NBC News. He was set to make the announcement in Iowa.

A California billionaire and former hedge fund chieftain, Steyer is one of the Democratic Party's most prominent donors and a major champion of climate change action. In recent months, he has focused his efforts on "Need to Impeach," his group aimed at building momentum to impeach Trump.

"I will do whatever it takes, for as long as it takes, to remove a president," Steyer told reporters on Wednesday. "Not because I disagree with his policies…but because the people must do what our elected officials have been unable and unwilling to do: Hold President Trump accountable."

Instead of running, Steyer said he is "strengthening my commitment to 'Need to Impeach' in 2019 until the House starts proceedings or Mr. Trump resigns. That’s how we will define success."

Asked after his announcement by NBC News who among possible 2020 Democrats would pick up that impeachment mantle, Steyer said it would be premature to say because he didn't know yet how the field is shaping up.

Steyer said he will spend at least $40 million on those impeachment efforts over the next year.

Steyer was one of a few wealthy businessmen who are considering seeking the Democratic nomination. The others are former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Starbucks founder Howard Schultz.

Ali Vitali reported from Des Moines and Allan Smith from New York City.