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Top Democrats to consider impeachment of Trump

This article is more than 12 months old

WASHINGTON Top congressional Democrats left the door open on Sunday to the impeachment of US President Donald Trump, but said they would need to complete their own investigations into whether he obstructed justice in Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe.

Some party leaders have cautioned against impeachment just 18 months before the 2020 presidential election, although prominent liberals have demanded the start of proceedings to remove Mr Trump from office since the release last Thursday of a redacted version of Mr Mueller's report.

US House Judiciary Committee chairman Jerrold Nadler, whose panel would spearhead any impeachment proceedings, said Democrats would press ahead with investigations of Mr Trump in Congress and "see where the facts lead us".

"Obstruction of justice, if proven, would be impeachable," Mr Nadler said on NBC's Meet The Press.

The redacted version of Mr Mueller's report on Russian interference in the 2016 election outlined multiple instances where Mr Trump tried to thwart the probe. While it stopped short of concluding Mr Trump had committed a crime, it did not exonerate him.

Mr Mueller also noted that Congress has the power to address whether Mr Trump violated the law, and Democrats said it would be a matter of discussion 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 said on Fox News.

Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wrote to lawmakers last week to notify them of the call "to discuss this grave matter".

Republicans have stood by Mr Trump, and Mrs Pelosi has cautioned against an impeachment effort that would have no chance of success in the Republican-led Senate.

Democratic House Oversight Committee chairman Elijah Cummings said on CBS television's Face The Nation that he could foresee possible impeachment proceedings against Mr Trump, "but I'm not there yet".

He also said Congress needed to look at Mr Trump's finances and gauge Mr Mueller's intentions with his report.

But even if Senate Republicans blocked a Democratic impeachment effort, Mr Cummings said: "I think history would smile upon us for standing up for the Constitution."