Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) fears the Democrat-led House impeachment effort could lead President Trump to ultimately claim vindication, he told reporters in Iowa on Tuesday.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) announced on Tuesday the launch of an official impeachment inquiry, using the whistleblower complaint as a launching point. This follows months of far-left “Squad” members pushing impeachment and Pelosi’s continuous stiff-arming of such efforts.
“I’m announcing the House of Representatives moving forward with an official impeachment inquiry,” Pelosi announced at a Capitol Hill press conference.
“I am directing our six committees to proceed with their investigations under that umbrella of impeachment inquiry,” she said.
“The President must be held accountable. No one is above the law,” she continued, citing the Founding Fathers.
“Getting back to our founders, in the darkest days of the American Revolution, Thomas Paine wrote that times have found us, that times found them to fight for and establish our democracy,” she added. “The times have found us today”:
Nancy Pelosi: "Therefore today, I'm announcing the House of Representatives is moving forward with an official impeachment inquiry." pic.twitter.com/HyHKD39N7M
— Axios (@axios) September 24, 2019
Several 2020 Democrat candidates called for the inquiry prior to Pelosi’s announcement.
“This isn’t a partisan issue—or shouldn’t be,” Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) tweeted. “When the president of the United States is working with other countries to interfere with our elections, we should begin impeachment proceedings.”
“It was true when I said it in 2017 running for Senate in Texas and it’s still true today: President Trump should be impeached,” former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D) added.
“The House must impeach. It must start today,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) wrote.
Noticeably absent though, was Sanders. While he believes that “impeachable offenses” exist, he signaled that Democrats may be acting too hastily and would not say if he would support the impeachment effort if it made it to the Senate.
“Here’s the dilemma that you have,” Sanders told reporters in Iowa on Tuesday, according to BuzzFeed News. “Now I don’t know — I’ll tell you that my gut is that the average Republican in the Senate and the House is totally intimidated by President Trump.”
“And at this particular point, I have my doubts, like you all. I have my doubts that any Republican, or very few, would vote against him,” he continued, detailing his fear. Sanders worries that – in the event that the impeachment effort gets passed on to the Senate – which would require a two-thirds majority (or 67 votes) – it would fail and Trump would claim vindication as a result.
“I know and you know what [Trump] will do: ‘I am vindicated! … I am vindicated!’ And I think that is a fact that has to be taken into consideration,” Sanders said, according to BuzzFeed.
“But what do you do when you have a president who has acted in an unconstitutional way? If that is the findings,” Sanders continued. “Again, I don’t want to judge it. I think that is the face. But there is a process that has to take place.”
Sanders reiterated that he believes there are impeachable offenses, and he has signaled such before, floating an inquiry in May:
It is obvious that the President is a pathological liar who does not understand the Constitution. The fact is that if Mr. Trump continues to disregard the right of Congress to subpoena, he will leave House Members with no choice but to begin an impeachment inquiry.
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) May 23, 2019
“I believe that there are impeachable offenses. That’s my view. But my view is not good enough,” Sanders said, according to BuzzFeed News.
“I happen to believe that there are grounds to do it. But you have to lay it out,” Sanders explained, refusing to reveal his thoughts on the controversy surrounding Hunter Biden’s business dealings in Ukraine.
“I know I’m a little bit old-fashioned. I like to see the evidence before I talk about things. I read the papers and I read what I read,” Sanders said. “But I don’t know that I know enough at this point to make any definitive statement.”
Fellow presidential candidate Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has taken her position on impeachment farther than Sanders, telling CNN’s Newsroom on Tuesday that impeachment would “further tear apart an already divided country.”
“Impeachment is something — that is a step that will divide the country and will be worse off for our country,” she said.