Pete Buttigieg on Mueller statement: 'As close to an impeachment referral as it gets'
The redacted version of the Mueller report is now available from the attorney general. Here are the key takeaways from it. USA TODAY
South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg tweeted Wednesday that special counsel Robert Mueller's remarks during a press conference earlier in the day were "as close to an impeachment referral as it gets."
"Robert Mueller could not clear the president, nor could he charge him — so he has handed the matter to Congress, which alone can act to deliver due process and accountability," Buttigieg tweeted.
Congress has the power to impeach the president, with the House of Representatives bringing the articles of impeachment and the Senate deciding whether to remove him from office.
Buttigieg said at a CNN town hall in April that he believes Trump deserves impeachment.
Mueller made his first public comments Wednesday about his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. In the comments, Mueller said charging Trump with a crime was "not an option we could consider" due to a Justice Department policy against prosecuting a sitting president.
Mueller also said if prosecutors had confidence that the president clearly didn't commit a crime, "we would have said that."
When Mueller's 448-page report about his investigation's findings was released in April, Buttigieg said: "The Mueller report is a disturbing if not completely surprising collection of evidence that shows a president putting his own interests ahead of the country’s. Today again demonstrates why we need to change the channel in 2020."
Trump tweeted following Mueller's press conference that "nothing changes from the Mueller Report. There was insufficient evidence and therefore, in our Country, a person is innocent. The case is closed! Thank you."
Other 2020 Democratic presidential candidates, including California Sen. Kamala Harris, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke, have also weighed in on Mueller's Wednesday press conference. Here's how they reacted:
But while many of the candidates appear ready for impeachment proceedings to begin, Democratic Party leaders do not appear to be focused on impeaching Trump. That move, they've said, would be divisive, and could hurt Democrats in future elections.
USA Today contributed to this report.
Andrew Clark is Facebook editor for IndyStar. Call him at 317-444-6484 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @Clarky_Tweets.