Tom Steyer, the influential Democratic donor and founder of the Need to Impeach campaign, said that the party already has grounds for impeachment against President Trump — and it's all about corruption.
“If you step back for one second and think about this president, the most corrupt president in American history — [he's] somebody who is breaking the law on a daily basis, somebody who is reckless and dangerous and lawless,” Steyer told Audie Cornish in an interview Sunday on BuzzFeed News’ Facebook Watch show Profile.
Steyer said that Trump is committing crimes every day, and that the evidence “is in plain sight” because the president is being paid by foreign governments. (Officials from Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Kuwait, and the Philippines have booked accommodation or events in Trump's DC hotel. DC and Maryland are currently suing Trump in federal court, claiming these payments violate the Constitution's emoluments clause.)
"In the Constitution, it says that the president cannot take any payment whatsoever from a foreign government — for obvious reasons. I mean, you can't have the president taking money from a foreign government, which would mean that he might ... do what's right for them instead of what's right for the American people. He does that on a daily basis.
"We don't need Mr. Mueller to tell us that," Steyer said.
In a conversation with BuzzFeed News reporters after the show, Steyer said “corruption” — rather than the Russia investigation or any policy move — provided the strongest rationale for impeachment, according to a previously undisclosed survey of 200,000 people on his expansive Need to Impeach database. The survey found that 30% of respondents said the president should be impeached for corruption, he said.
Steyer has faced criticism from leaders in the Democratic Party, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who have said his multimillion-dollar impeachment campaign is divisive and playing into the Republican Party’s hands.
In an interview last month with Rolling Stone, Pelosi said that impeachment would be a “gift” to Republicans and that the prospect is “off the table” until they have more concrete evidence from the Mueller investigation.
Steyer said that Pelosi and the party’s establishment are wrong to think that a push from Congress to impeach President Trump would motivate the Republican base ahead of the midterm elections.
“They say that they’re worried it’ll encourage Republicans to show up at the polls in November, so we actually polled that,” Steyer said. “This isn’t in the top three issues they care about.”
“If you look at what Republicans are using in their advertising, which is a pretty good measure of what they think will drive their constituents to the polls, it’s taxes, immigration, and Nancy Pelosi,” he added. “It’s not impeachment.”