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Bernie Sanders: ‘It May Well Be Time for an Impeachment Inquiry to Begin’

Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks in Emeryville, Calif., during his 2016 presidential campaign. (Elijah Nouvelage/Reuters)

Senator Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) acknowledged on Wednesday that President Trump would relish an impeachment fight, but said congressional Democrats may be forced to pursue that option if the White House continues to stonewall their oversight efforts.

Sanders joins a growing cohort of Democrats who have begun to publicly pressure party leadership to consider opening an impeachment inquiry in response to the administration’s refusal to comply with subpoena-backed requests for documents and witness interviews.

“To be very honest with you, Jake, I am not sure that this president may not want to be impeached. He may think that it works for him politically. I don’t know that, but it wouldn’t shock me. I think he is a 100 percent political animal. Doesn’t spend a whole lot of time worrying about health care or education, certainly not about climate change. So I don’t know what goes on in his mind,” Sanders told CNN’s Jake Tapper.

“But I think if he continues to not understand the constitution of the United States, the separation of powers, the fact that the Congress has every right to subpoena and it is the job of the administration to attend the hearings that the Congress is calling, if he doesn’t understand that, it may well be time for an impeachment inquiry to begin,” he added. “Where the Judiciary Committee begins to determine whether or not there are grounds for impeachment.”

The calls for impeachment, previously coming only from a small group of younger progressive lawmakers, grew louder on Monday after former White House counsel Don McGahn refused to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee to be interviewed about Trump’s efforts to obstruct the Mueller investigation.

House speaker Nancy Pelosi held a meeting on Wednesday morning in which she reportedly cautioned her caucus against prematurely calling for impeachment and counseled them to instead rely on the courts to intercede on their behalf in their fight to exercise oversight.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Pelosi accused Trump of engaging in a “cover up” but stopped short of endorsing her colleagues’ calls for impeachment. In response, Trump prematurely ended an infrastructure meeting with top Democrats and said he would not cooperate on any legislative priorities until their multiple ongoing investigations into him and his administration conclude.

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