ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) Top congressional Democrats left the door open on Sunday to the impeachment of U.S. President Donald Trump, but said they would first need to complete their own investigations into whether he obstructed justice in Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe.
Some party leaders have cautioned against impeachment just 18 months before the 2020 presidential election, although prominent liberals have demanded the start of proceedings to remove Trump from office since the release on Thursday of Mueller's report.
A redacted version of Mueller's long-awaited report on Russian interference in the 2016 election, the product of a 22-month investigation, outlined multiple instances where Trump tried to thwart the probe.
While it stopped short of concluding Trump had committed a crime, it did not exonerate him.
Mueller noted that Congress has the power to address whether Trump violated the law, and Democrats said it would be a matter of discussion in the coming weeks.
Democratic House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings said on CBS's "Face the Nation" that he could foresee possible impeachment proceedings against Trump "but I'm not there yet." He said Congress needed to look at Trump's finances and gauge Mueller's intentions with his report.
But even if Senate Republicans blocked a Democratic impeachment effort, he said, "I think history would smile upon us for standing up for the Constitution." U.S. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, whose panel would spearhead any impeachment proceedings, said Democrats would press ahead with investigations of Trump in Congress and "see where the facts lead us." "Obstruction of justice, if proven, would be impeachable," Nadler said on NBC's "Meet the Press."