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    U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) speaks at the Netroots Nation annual conference for political progressives in New Orleans

    Dems Would Like to See Impeachment, but Focus is Defeating Trump in 2020 – Prof

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    On Friday, Senator Elizabeth Warren called on the House to begin impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump becoming the first Democratic presidential candidate to do so. Sputnik has discussed this with Cal Jillson, a political science professor at Southern Methodist University.

    Sputnik: Elizabeth Warren, the first Democratic presidential candidate for the 2020 election, called for Congress to begin impeachment proceedings against President Trump. Most analysts agree that the possibility of impeachment is very low. What is she aiming for?

    Cal Jillson: I think she's aiming to galvanise the Democratic base. There are a lot of Democrats that believe that President Trump should be impeached, but the leadership of the Democratic Party, particularly in the House Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer realise that impeachment proceedings will take up a great deal of time and would never succeed at trial in the Senate. So since there's no prospect of President Trump actually being impeached, leading Democrats generally don't support beginning that process although some of them will call for it as a way to acknowledge the concern among Democrats over the Trump administration.

    Sputnik: Warren called for extreme measures in response to the revelations. What measures are in reserve if not impeachment?

    Cal Jillson: Well, I think that what will happen is that the Democratic controlled House of Representatives, through a number of its committees, including the Judiciary Committee and the Intelligence Committee will hold hearings and will call in past and current Trump administration officials, including Attorney General Barr and Special Counsel Mueller to testify and to clarify parts of the Mueller Report that remain unclear, and to explain the rationale for not indicting President Trump on obstruction of justice charges and indicting members of his campaign, if not him, for collusion with Russia during the 2016 election meddling issues.

    READ MORE: Journo: Dems Wasted Years on Attempted Coup of Democratically Elected President

    Sputnik: Can we evaluate the claim as an attempt to affect the Democratic Party ratings before the 2020 elections?

    Cal Jillson: Well, I think many Americans and Democrats in particular, though not the Trump administration, are worried about Russian meddling in the 2016 election.They want an inquiry into it. They want to put policies in place that would make it less effective should it happen again in the 2020 election. So I think that candidates like Elizabeth Warren and other Democratic candidates will call out the Trump administration for not securing the American elections as we approach the next election in 2020.

    Sputnik: Do you think the investigation, if it takes place, can really increase Warren's personal rating or the party's in general?

    Cal Jillson: I think that Elizabeth Warren is one of the top three or four candidates for the Democratic nomination at this point. She is a well-known Senator. She has raised enough money to run a significant campaign, but she's not one of the more galvanising figures in the field, if you think about Mayor Pete (Buttigieg), Beto O'Rourke. She doesn't have quite the personality that they do and we will have to wait and see when former Vice President Joe Biden gets in the race, whether Elizabeth Warren remains one of the top 4 or 5 candidates along with Senator Bernie Sanders, Biden, her and Kamala Harris of California is also a leading candidate.

    Sputnik: In a letter to Attorney General William Barr, Democratic leaders in both the US House and Senate rejected the Justice Department's offer to view a less-redacted version of the Mueller Report. Why?

    Cal Jillson: The Mueller Report was 440 pages or so long, about 10% of it was redacted or blocked out. Attorney General Barr gave reasons for that and those reasons are in large part legitimate, but Democratic leaders believe that they should be able to see the whole report including the redacted elements in order to form a full judgment about the questions they have about President Trump and his campaign's conduct in the 2016 election. And they don't want to see just some of the redacted parts and they don't want to see it under conditions that would not allow them to describe it, or to speak to it, or to release parts of the redacted version. So they're going to try to get the entire Mueller Report so that they can read it unredacted and even release it to the American public. They may well have to go to court to get parts of the Mueller Report that were grand jury testimony redacted. Tthey're never going to get parts of the report that deal with intelligence community sources and methods. That would be legitimately secret, but they want to see as much of it as possible under the conditions that would allow them to describe what they saw and perhaps even release it.

    Sputnik: A number of Democrats already say the evidence against Trump is not enough to forcibly eject the president from office. Party leaders fear the move can cost the party the House. How much can the issue divide the Democratic Party and polarize the American society?

    Cal Jillson: Well I think the issue of impeachment will divide the Democratic Party to some extent. Certainly within the Congress there will be members of the Democratic Party who will wish to move to impeachment even just as a form of full public inquiry into what happened in the 2016 elections and afterwards but the Democratic leadership, Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker in particular, and her leadership team believe the Democrats have other important substantive policy business to perform and if they were engaged in impeachment it would not allow those policy issues to be addressed. So I don't expect impeachment in the House, and I think that Democrats in the country are more focused on beating President Trump for re-election in 2020 than they are on impeachment. Even if many Democrats would like to see impeachment they understand that impeachment is not a good political strategy as they approach the 2020 election. So I think while lots of Democrats wouldn't mind seeing impeachment they know that it would be a double-edged sword, it would have both costs and benefits to the party, and their focus is principally on the election itself and trying to pick a candidate that can defeat President Trump.

    Tags:
    Mueller Report, impeachment, Elizabeth Warren, Donald Trump, United States
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