Every single candidate at Tuesday’s Democrat debate expressed support for an impeachment inquiry, signaling that the Democrat Party is working to solidify its messaging in an attempt to convince the American people that the president committed a crime worthy of investigation and, ultimately, impeachment.
CNN and the New York Times opened the debate with a discussion on the partisan-based impeachment inquiry.
“Since the last debate, House Democrats have officially launched an impeachment inquiry against President Trump, which all the candidates on this stage support,” Anderson Cooper, one of the debate’s moderators, said.
“Sen. Warren, I want to start with you,” Cooper continued.
“You have said that there’s already enough evidence for President Trump to be impeached and removed from office. But the question is, with the election only one year away, why shouldn’t it be the voters who determine the president’s fate?” he asked.
The Massachusetts senator said impeachment is necessary because the president broke the law “over and over.” She said she initially made the determination after reading the Mueller report and falsely claimed that Mueller had shown “that this president had obstructed justice and done it repeatedly,” despite the fact that Mueller made no such determination.
Attorney General William Barr determined that Trump did not obstruct justice, explaining that the evidence was “not sufficient to establish that the president committed an obstruction of justice offense.”
“Impeachment is the way that we establish that this man will not be permitted to break the law over and over without consequences,” Warren said, adding that impeachment is about Trump as well as “the next president and the next president and the next president and the future of this country.”
“The impeachment must go forward,” she proclaimed.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) concurred, repeating the false claim that Trump obstructed justice and calling him the “most corrupt president in the history of this country.”
“I think that the House will find him guilty of — worthy of impeachment because of the emoluments clause. This is a president who is enriching himself while using the Oval Office to do that, and that is outrageous,” he said, adding that he looks forward to a “speedy and expeditious impeachment process.”
“Mitch McConnell has got to do the right thing and allow a free and fair trial in the Senate,” he added.
While there are varying degrees of support, all of Warren and Sanders’ colleagues signaled support for the Democrat-led impeachment efforts.
Here are their most significant lines on impeachment:
Joe Biden (D):
I said from the beginning that if, in fact, Trump continued to stonewall what the Congress is entitled to know about his background, what he did, all the accusations in the Mueller report, if they did that, they would have no choice — no choice — but to begin an impeachment proceeding, which gives them more power to seek more information.
This president — and I agree with Bernie, Sen. Sanders — is the most corrupt president in modern history and I think all of our history. And the fact is that this president of the United States has gone so far as to say, since this latest event, that, in fact, he will not cooperate in any way at all, will not list any witnesses, will not provide any information, will not do anything to cooperate with the impeachment. They have no choice but to move.
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA):
But the reality of it is that I don’t really think this impeachment process is going to take very long, because as a former prosecutor, I know a confession when I see it. And he did it in plain sight. He has given us the evidence. And he tried to cover it up, putting it in that special server. And there’s been a clear consciousness of guilt. This will not take very long. Donald Trump needs to be held accountable. He is, indeed, the most corrupt and unpatriotic president we have ever had.
Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ):
Anybody who has criticisms about a process that is making all the facts bare before the American public, that works to build consensus, that’s what this nation needs, in what is a moral moment and not a political one. So I swore an oath to do my job as a senator, do my duty. This president has violated his. I will do mine.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN):
We can do two things at once. That’s our job. We have a constitutional duty to pursue this impeachment, but we also can stand up for America, because this president has not been putting America in front of his own personal interests.
Julián Castro (D):
Not only that, what we have to recognize is that not only did the Mueller report point out ten different instances where the president obstructed justice or tried to, and he made that call to President Zelensky of the Ukraine, but he is in ongoingly — in an ongoing way violating his oath of office and abusing his power.
We have to impeach this president. And the majority of Americans not only support impeachment, they support removal. He should be removed.
Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D):
Look, the president has left the Congress with no choice. And this is not just about holding the president accountable, for not just the things emerging in these investigations, but actions that he has confessed to on television. It’s also about the presidency itself, because a president ten years or 100 years from now will look back at this moment and draw the conclusion either that no one is above the law or that a president can get away with anything.
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI):
The serious issues that have been raised around this phone call that he had with the president of Ukraine and many other things that transpired around that are what caused me to support the inquiry in the House. And I think that it should continue to play its course out, to gather all the information, provide that to the American people, recognizing that that is the only way forward.
If the House votes to impeach, the Senate does not vote to remove Donald Trump, he walks out and he feels exonerated, further deepening the divides in this country that we cannot afford.
Tom Steyer (D):
Two years ago, I started the Need to Impeach movement, because I knew there was something desperately wrong at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, that we did have the most corrupt president in the country, and that only the voice and the will of the American people would drag Washington to see it as a matter of right and wrong, not of political expediency. So, in fact, impeaching and removing this president is something that the American people are demanding. They’re the voice that counts, and that’s who I went to, the American people.
Andrew Yang (D):
I support impeachment, but we shouldn’t have any illusions that impeaching Donald Trump will, one, be successful or, two, erase the problems that got him elected in 2016.
Beto O’Rourke (D):
And we have a responsibility to be fearless in the face of this president’s criminality and his lawlessness. The fact that as a candidate for the highest office in the land, he invited the participation, the invasion of a foreign power in our democracy. As president, he lied to investigators, obstructed justice, fired James Comey, head of the FBI, tried to fire Mueller, head of the investigation, then invited President Zelensky to involve himself in our politics, as well as China, in exchange for favorable trade terms in an upcoming trade deal.
Trump reacted to the Democrat debate on Wednesday, writing, “You would think there is NO WAY that any of the Democrat Candidates that we witnessed last night could possibly become President of the United States.”
“Now you see why they have no choice but to push a totally illegal & absurd Impeachment of one of the most successful Presidents!” he exclaimed:
You would think there is NO WAY that any of the Democrat Candidates that we witnessed last night could possibly become President of the United States. Now you see why they have no choice but to push a totally illegal & absurd Impeachment of one of the most successful Presidents!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 16, 2019
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) announced on Tuesday that the House will hold off on a House-wide vote on the impeachment inquiry.
“There’s no requirement that we have a vote, and at this time, we will not have a vote,” Pelosi said at a press conference on Tuesday.
“We’re not here to call bluffs. We’re here to find the truth, to uphold the Constitution of the United States,” she added. “This is not a game for us, this is deadly serious.”