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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says it’s time to investigate Trump for impeachment

“The report squarely puts this on our doorstep.”

Emily Stewart covers business and economics for Vox and writes the newsletter The Big Squeeze, examining the ways ordinary people are being squeezed under capitalism. Before joining Vox, she worked for TheStreet.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) is signing up to impeach President Donald Trump in the wake of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report.

In a series of tweets on Thursday after the report was released, the first-term Democrat said she would sign on to an impeachment resolution introduced by Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and called on Congress to investigate potential obstruction of justice by the president.

Ocasio-Cortez said that while she understands the “political reality of the Senate” and election considerations, “I cannot see a reason for us to abdicate from our constitutionally mandated responsibility to investigate.”

“Many know I take no pleasure in discussions of impeachment. I didn’t campaign on it, [and] rarely discuss it unprompted,” Ocasio-Cortez continued. “We all prefer working on our priorities: pushing Medicare for all, tackling student loans, [and] a Green New Deal. But the report squarely puts this on our doorstep.”

Tlaib, who in January made headlines for declaring, “We’re going to impeach that motherfucker!” at a celebration after being sworn into Congress, in March put forth a resolution calling on the House Judiciary Committee to probe whether Trump committed impeachable offenses. At the time, just one other Democrat — Rep. Al Green (D-TX) — signed on.

But after the release of the Mueller report, it appears that the idea of impeaching Trump among some congressional Democrats might be picking up steam.

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) also backed Tlaib on Thursday. “We have an obligation to investigate whether the President committed impeachable offenses,” she tweeted.

“In times of great consequence, let’s be clear,” Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) tweeted.

The Mueller report outlined 10 potential instances of obstruction of justice by President Trump, including his decision to fire FBI Director James Comey and his attempts to oust the special counsel. But Mueller declined to come down on whether the president committed criminal obstruction of justice and instead left the decision in Congress’s hands.

“With respect to whether the President can be found to have obstructed justice by exercising his powers under Article II of the Constitution, we concluded that Congress has authority to prohibit a President’s corrupt use of his authority in order to protect the integrity of the administration of justice,” the report reads.

Democrats are advancing carefully on what to do next

There is no strict agreement among Democrats on what to following the Mueller report, including when it comes to impeachment.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said in an interview with CNN’s Dana Bash on Thursday that impeachment is “not worthwhile” at this time: “Very frankly, there is an election in 18 months, and the American people will make a judgment.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in March essentially ruled out impeaching Trump. “I don’t think we should go down that path, because it divides the country,” she said in an interview with the Washington Post Magazine’s Joe Heim. “And he’s not just worth it.”

Pelosi sent a letter to House Democrats to set up a meeting a Monday to discuss the “grave matter” of the Mueller report. “Congress will not be silent,” she wrote.

House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerry Nadler (D-NY) on Friday issued a subpoena demanding an unredacted version of the Mueller report and the underlying materials by May 1.

As Vox’s Ella Nilsen noted, Nadler said on Thursday that it was too early to talk impeachment, but he didn’t rule it out, either. “That’s one possibility; there are others,” he said. “It’s too early to reach those conclusions; it’s one reason we wanted the Mueller report ... and we’ll want other evidence too.”

Democrats have also called on Mueller to testify on Capitol Hill by May 23.

Democrats have ramped up their investigations into Trump in recent weeks on a wide range of fronts, including his tax returns, his business ties, and his inaugural committee’s fundraising. As Nilsen explains, Democrats are “trying to pull off a delicate balancing act: investigating Trump while focusing on policy issues that won them the House in 2018, including cheaper health care and coming up with a plan to repair the nation’s infrastructure.”

The release of the Mueller report and growing chatter about impeachment makes that balancing act even tougher.

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