WASHINGTON — New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a freshman Democrat on the House Oversight Committee and one of the most famous members of Congress, said she’ll support a resolution that would look into whether the House of Representatives should impeach President Donald Trump.
Her comments, which she tweeted on Thursday, came in the aftermath of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report, which didn’t conclude whether Trump committed a crime but also did “not exonerate” the president. Ocasio-Cortez is the leading voice of the progressive left, which would like to see the president impeached, and is at odds with Democratic leadership’s message that impeachment proceedings are not happening in the foreseeable future.
“Mueller’s report is clear in pointing to Congress’ responsibility in investigating obstruction of justice by the President. It is our job as outlined in Article 1, Sec 2, Clause 5 of the US Constitution,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. “As such, I’ll be signing onto [Rep. Rashida Tlaib]’s impeachment resolution.”
Tlaib, another progressive member of the caucus who was elected alongside Ocasio-Cortez and also serves on the Oversight Committee, introduced a resolution at the end of March that would give the House Judiciary Committee free rein to “inquire whether the House of Representatives should impeach Donald John Trump.” Tlaib herself caught fire over remarks she made in January shortly after being sworn in that the Democrat-controlled House would “impeach the motherfucker.”
On Thursday, Tlaib also said on Twitter the Mueller report is “further proof of what I’ve been saying for a long time: it’s #TimetoImpeach” and said the “first step” is for the House Judiciary Committee to launch “an investigation into whether Trump committed impeachable offenses.”
Texas Rep. Al Green, who has previously supported impeachment, also tweeted in support of pursuing impeachment, using the hashtag “#TimeToImpeach.”
Fellow Texas Democratic Rep. Joaquin Castro said in a statement that Congress should ask Mueller, "Based on your findings, if you were a member of this Congress, would you move forward with impeachment proceedings?”"
Talk of impeachment has not previously gone over well within the caucus. While a handful of Democrats have long called for impeachment and even forced votes over the matter, they began holding back as soon as Democrats took the majority in the House following last year’s midterms. (Green cosponsored Tlaib’s new resolution.) Even in the aftermath of the Mueller report, House leadership was not anxious to open the door to any kind of impeachment proceeding.
“Based on what we have seen to date, going forward on impeachment is not worthwhile at this point. Very frankly, there is an election in 18 months and the American people will make a judgement,” Majority Leader Steny Hoyer reportedly told CNN on Thursday.
It’s also a difficult political reality. Even if House Democrats managed to get on the same page to move forward in their chamber, it would require bipartisan support to succeed, and Republicans are unlikely to support it.
In a follow-up tweet, Ocasio-Cortez made a nod to this:
“While I understand the political reality of the Senate + election considerations, upon reading this DoJ report, which explicitly names Congress in determining obstruction, I cannot see a reason for us to abdicate from our constitutionally mandated responsibility to investigate.”
Pelosi said last month in a Washington Post interview that she did not support pursuing impeachment.
"I’m not for impeachment,” Pelosi said. “Impeachment is so divisive to the country that unless there’s something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan, I don’t think we should go down that path, because it divides the country. And he’s just not worth it."
But even on Thursday, leadership remained hesitant to pursue talk of impeachment, at odds with progressives outside of Congress. A senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, for example, tweeted: “This. Is. An. Impeachment. Referral.”
Judiciary Committee Chair Jerry Nadler was also asked about impeachment following the report’s release, where he said it was “too soon” to discuss and that Democrats will “have to go follow the evidence where it leads."
"That's one possibility, there are others,” Nadler said. “We obviously have to get to the bottom of what happened and take whatever action seems necessary at that time. It's too early to reach those conclusions."