Prominent Democrats are ramping up calls to impeach President Trump in the aftermath of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's statement on Wednesday recapping his investigation's findings and announcing the closing of his office.
Mueller's statement, emphasizing his report did not exonerate the president on the question of obstruction of justice, triggered an avalanche of calls from 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls. Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., tweeted that there is a "legal and moral obligation to begin impeachment proceedings immediately."
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., described Mueller's statement as "an impeachment referral," and said that Congress should act on it.
Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., also compared Mueller's remarks to an "impeachment referall," and said, "We need to start impeachment proceedings. It's our constitutional obligation."
Beto O'Rourke also weighed in, calling for "consequences, accountability, and justice," and saying impeachment was "the only way to ensure that."
Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass., who is also running for president, said now that Mueller's job is done, "Impeachment hearings should begin tomorrow."
On the topic of obstruction of justice, Mueller stated that it would be unconstitutional to charge a sitting president with a crime, and he would not accuse someone of a crime without them being able to defend themselves in a court proceeding. At the same time, he said he was unable to exonerate the president either. This has added fuel to Democrats' desire to impeach Trump.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., whose committee would play a starring role in any impeachment effort, vowed that Congress would "respond."
"Given that Special Counsel Mueller was unable to pursue criminal charges against the President, it falls to Congress to respond to the crimes, lies and other wrongdoing of President Trump – and we will do so," Nadler said in a statement. "No one, not even the President of the United States, is above the law."
Nadler's statement specifically addressed obstruction of justice, saying that "the Constitution points to Congress to take action to hold the President accountable."
Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, issued a statement with a very different conclusion than Nadler.
"Special Counsel Mueller confirmed today what we knew months ago when his report was released: there was no collusion and no obstruction," Collins said in a statement. "Relitigating the 2016 election and reinvestigating the special counsel's findings will only further divide our country."
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders also issued a statement, emphatically stating that it was time to move on from the investigation after Mueller's report did not find evidence of collusion with Russia, and the Justice Department determined there was insufficient evidence of obstruction.
"The report was clear—there was no collusion, no conspiracy—and the Department of Justice confirmed there was no obstruction," Sanders said. Special Counsel Mueller also sstated that Attorney General Barr acted in good faith in his handling of the report. After two years, the Special Counsel is moving on with his life, and everyone else should do the same."
Trump's 2020 campaign also addressed Mueller's statement.
"Special Counsel Robert Mueller's remarks today confirmed what we already knew. There was no collusin between the Russians and the Trump campaign, and there was no case for obstruction," campaign manager Brad Parscale said in a statement. " President Trump has been fully and completely exonerated. Mueller said his investigation is over. The case is now closed."
Parscale went on to address the investigation of "the origins of the Russia hoax," and why the Justice Department and FBI intiated their probe of the Trump campaign.
"Anyone who is for transparency, constitutional civil libterties, and the rule of law should want to know why human sources, wiretapping, and unmasking were used to infiltrate a presidential campaign," he said.