(NBC) – Sen. Elizabeth Warren on Friday became the first Democratic presidential candidate to call on the House to begin impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump.
Warren, of Massachusetts, said her announcement was based on the findings of special counsel Robert Mueller.
“The severity of this misconduct demands that elected officials in both parties set aside political considerations and do their constitutional duty,” she tweeted. “That means the House should initiate impeachment proceedings against the President of the United States.”
In an interview Friday night on “The Rachel Maddow Show,” Warren said starting impeachment proceedings was a point of principle.
“The report is absolutely clear that a foreign government attacked our electoral system to help Donald Trump,” she said. “He welcomed that help, and then when it was investigated by our own federal authorities Donald Trump took multiple steps to try to obstruct justice.”
Before Warren’s statement, another 2020 candidate, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, told reporters at a campaign stop in New Hampshire that the senators in the race seemed to be choosing their words carefully on the issue.
“I think you’ve seen all the senators are very cautious about talking about this because we would be the jury if there was any kind of an action brought over from the House,” she said, adding that “the key thing” for her was to have special counsel Robert Mueller testify before the Judiciary Committee.
A spokeswoman for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif, responding to Warren’s call, said, “As the speaker has said repeatedly, one step at a time.”
“We’re focused on getting the full unredacted version of the report and its underlying documents — as well as hearing from Mueller,” the spokeswoman said in a statement. “The report raises more questions and concerns that we believe the American people deserve answers to.”
Tom Steyer, a billionaire Democratic donor who has led a crusade to impeach Trump, called Warren “one of the people in Washington who has the moral courage to do what’s right.”
“Eight million Americans are thanking her for her leadership and for taking a strong stand against this dangerous President,” he said in a statement Friday.
Steyer had flirted with a presidential run himself but ruled it out in January, choosing instead to dedicate himself to the impeachment effort through his organization, “Need to Impeach.”
Other Democratic presidential candidates said Friday that Trump’s conduct as detailed in the redacted version of the report made impeachment worth discussing, although one, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., ignored questions from reporters on the subject at a campaign stop in Greenville, South Carolina.
Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, told NBC News on Friday that while there’s “evidence that this president deserves to be impeached,” he is not in Congress so will leave it those who are to decide whether to pursue proceedings.
Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., who recently announced a White House bid, said on MSNBC Friday that impeachment is “a conversation we have to have as far as holding this president accountable,” but when asked to clarify whether that means he supports impeachment, he said, “I’m for bringing Bob Mueller in and see what the evidence is.”
Julián Castro, a former Housing and Urban Development secretary under President Barack Obama, tweeted his view that it “would be perfectly reasonable for Congress to open up impeachment hearings against President Trump. Robert Mueller clearly left that option in the hands of Congress.”
Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., did not rule it out in an interview Thursday on MSNBC’s “All in With Chris Hayes.”
“I think that there is definitely a conversation to be had on that subject, but first I want to hear from Bob Mueller,” Harris said, “and really understand what exactly is the evidence that supports the summary that we have been given today.”
As Democrats continue to sift through the redacted Mueller report, some lawmakers who previously downplayed the idea of impeaching Trump said the investigation’s findings may require them to initiate such proceedings in the House.