Sanders: Congress shouldn't jump the gun on Trump impeachment

Image: Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) appears on Meet the Press on Dec. 10, 2017.
Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) appears on Meet the Press on Dec. 10, 2017.NBC News

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By Kailani Koenig

WASHINGTON — Sen. Bernie Sanders on Sunday warned against “jumping the gun” in pursuing impeachment charges against President Donald Trump and maintained that any potential proceedings should not be partisan.

“I think there is a process that has to be followed,” the Vermont independent said on NBC's “Meet the Press,” urging Democrats to wait for special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation on Russian attempts to interfere in the 2016 election to play out before starting any kind of formal impeachment process.

“I think Mr. Mueller is doing a very good job on his investigation,” Sanders said. “If Mueller brings forth the clear evidence that there was collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians, I think you have grounds for impeachment.”

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California businessman Tom Steyer has launched a multimillion-dollar campaign of television ads calling for Trump to be impeached, drawing the ire of some top Democrats.

This week, more than four dozen Democrats in the House of Representatives voted to move ahead with a resolution brought by Democratic Congressman Al Green of Texas to impeach the president, but it was ultimately tabled by a vote of 364 to 58.

Last week, Sanders urged the president to “think about resigning” because he has “acknowledged on tape that he assaulted women,” a reference to the Access Hollywood video that was released in the final weeks of the 2016 presidential campaign.

Sanders reiterated that call on “Meet the Press,” but also acknowledged he doesn’t think the current timing for considering impeachment is appropriate.

“I think jumping the gun does nobody any good,” he said. “You have to bring the American people onto this issue. You don’t want to make it into a partisan issue. If we’re going to go forward with impeachment, I want the American people clearly to understand why that is the case, why it makes sense, why it’s the right thing to do. I don’t think we’re there right now. That’s what the Mueller investigation is all about.”