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Moderate Dems Urge Party Not to Include Info from Mueller Report in Impeachment Articles

Former Special Counsel Robert Mueller testifies before a House Judiciary Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., July 24, 2019. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

A group of moderate House Democrats is calling on the party not to include charges based on the Mueller report in any articles of impeachment against President Trump, warning that doing so could backfire on them, Politico reported Thursday.

“I would prefer that we stick to what we have,” said Rep. Tom O’Halleran (D., Ariz.), one of the chairmen of the moderate Blue Dog Coalition.

“Activities from the 2016 election, I think, should be left to voters in the 2020 election,” said Rep. Ben McAdams (D., Utah). “My focus is on those things that are forward looking.”

Former special counsel Robert Mueller’s final report on the Russia investigation outlined 11 instances of potential obstruction of justice by Trump. However, moderate lawmakers say they prefer to focus impeachment on the allegations that Trump engaged in a quid pro quo scheme involving the provision of U.S. military aid to Ukraine in exchange for the public announcement of an investigation into political rival Joe Biden.

“I know that there’s some people who are interested in kind of a kitchen sink approach — let’s throw all kinds of things in there because we can and talk about all the things we’re concerned about regarding the president,” said Rep. Elissa Slotkin, a former Defense Department official who resisted supporting impeachment until the Ukraine matter appeared.

“We have been taking the country down this road on this very targeted issue of Ukraine and the issues around the president using his office for personal and political gain,” the Michigan moderate said. “And that’s what I think we should focus on.”

Democrats flipped over three dozen seats previously held by Republicans in 2018. Many of the moderate members cautioning about impeachment are vulnerable freshman members representing those red-leaning districts.

The last two House Democrats to resist backing the impeachment inquiry are Representatives Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey and Collin Peterson of Minnesota.

The House Judiciary Committee is hearing testimony from impeachment witnesses this week and is expected to draft articles of impeachment as soon as next week. The committee’s Democratic counsel on Wednesday outlined three possible articles of impeachment, namely abuse of power and bribery, obstruction of Congress, and obstruction of justice.

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