Representative Beto O’Rourke (D., Texas), who is challenging incumbent Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, said he would vote to begin impeachment proceedings against President Trump during a Thursday CNN town hall.
Asked whether he had changed his mind with respect to his previous support for impeachment, O’Rourke replied. “I haven’t.”
“There may be an open question as to whether the president, then the candidate, sought to collude with the Russian government in 2016,” the El Paso congressman said, referring to special counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and possible Trump campaign involvement.
“[And when in] broad daylight, on Twitter, he asked his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, to end the Russia investigation, I would say that’s obstruction in action,” he added. “The best course to get there so that every member has all the facts and that they are compelling enough to do the right thing is to allow the full Independence and integrity of the Bob Mueller investigation.”
Pressed on whether he would still vote for impeachment without reviewing Mueller’s findings, O’Rourke said he would.
“I would liken impeachment to an indictment. There is enough there to proceed with the trial for a full vetting of the facts and to make the best-informed decision in the interests of this country and our future,” he said.
O’Rourke’s comments diverge from those of Democratic leaders, such as minority leader Nancy Pelosi, who discouraged talk of impeachment on Tuesday.
“I think an impeachment, to use that word, is very divisive,” she said. “That isn’t a path that I would like to go down.”
While deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein maintains he has not given Mueller a hard end date for the probe, a recent Bloomberg report indicated the special counsel is preparing to release his findings in November.