As it happenedended1557256134

Trump news: Elizabeth Warren calls for impeachment on Senate floor while reading unreacted Mueller report

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill increasingly call the president 'impeachable' following Robert Mueller's report

Chris Riotta
New York
,Joe Sommerlad
Tuesday 07 May 2019 18:12
comments
Michael Behenna: Trump pardons US soldier who stripped and killed Iraqi prisoner

Elizabeth Warren says the US Congress should begin impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump.

The Democratic presidential candidate went to the Senate floor on Tuesday to reiterate her call for impeachment hours after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell declared "case closed" on the Russia probe and potential obstruction by the president.

Holding a copy of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report, Ms Warren responded to Mr McConnell that "wishing won't make it so."

She said that because of a Justice Department opinion that a sitting president can't be indicted, the only way to the hold the president accountable is to initiate impeachment.

Meanwhile, Bill Weld, the Republican former governor and federal prosecutor challenging Mr Trump for their party’s nomination in 2020, says the president is “impeachable” as a result of the Mueller report, attacking his administration’s “brazenness” over the handling of the investigation into Russian collusion.

Democratic contender Eric Swalwell has likewise called for impeachment to remove the “really bad kid in the White House” as Joe Biden surges ahead of nearest rival Bernie Sanders in the opinion polls

Treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin has meanwhile refused to release the president’s tax returns to the House Ways and Means committee.

The White House is also instructing former counsel Don McGahn not to comply with a subpoena for documents from the House Judiciary Committee, arguing the materials are subject to executive privilege.

White House counsel Pat Cipollone sent a letter to committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler on Tuesday saying Mr McGahn has been directed not to disclose the documents. The committee requested information about Mr McGahn's interactions with Mr Trump that were provided to the special counsel.

Mr Cipollone says Mr McGahn does not have any "legal right" to the documents because they're under White House control. He says the committee should direct its request to the White House.

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She said enough evidence is in the report to try and remove the president. She said, "It's there in black and white in the report."

The Associated Press contributed to this report. Please allow a moment for our liveblog to load

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Hello and welcome to The Independent's rolling coverage of the Donald Trump administration.

Joe Sommerlad7 May 2019 09:30
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President Trump again finds himself facing impeachment calls from his possible 2020 rivals this morning - and this time one of his denouncers is a Republican.

Bill Weld, the former Massachusetts governor and federal prosecutor who is challenging Trump for the GOP nomination next year, told MSNBC's The Beat with Ari Melber yesterday the president was "impeachable" as a result of the Mueller report, a position he was initially opposed to but now says “needs a little re-thinking in view of the brazenness” of both Trump and his attorney general William Barr in their handling of the report and subsequent refusal to co-operate with further congressional investigations.

The House Judiciary Committee will vote on whether to hold Barr in contempt of Congress on Wednesday.

Weld added his name to the hundreds of signatures from members of the legal profession who published an open letter on Monday saying there was enough evidence of obstruction of justice in the FBI special counsel's report to generate "multiple charges" against Trump and that only his being the president saved him from facing them.

Joe Sommerlad7 May 2019 09:46
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Democratic 2020 hopeful Eric Swalwell has also called for the president's impeachment.

Rival Kamala Harris had strong words of her own for the president yesterday, telling the Detroit chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP): "This president isn't trying to make America great. He's trying to make America hate."

Joe Sommerlad7 May 2019 09:55
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In 2020 polling news, Joe Biden has raced ahead of nearest rival Bernie Sanders.

The former vice-president has taken a 32-point lead over the veteran Vermont senator, according to a Hill-HarrisX poll released on Monday.

Asked "Who should be the Democratic Party's 2020 presidential nominee?", 46 percent of respondents opted for Biden, 14 percent for Sanders, eight percent for Pete Buttigieg, seven percent for Elizabeth Warren and six percent for Harris.

Beto O'Rourke and Cory Booker scored just three percent of the vote each. 

Here's Chris Stevenson's report.

Joe Sommerlad7 May 2019 10:05
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Treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin has refused a request by the House Ways and Means committee for President Trump's tax returns, saying doing so lacked “a legitimate legislative process”.

“Out of respect for the deadlines previously set by the committee, and consistent with our commitment to a prompt response, I am informing you now that the department may not lawfully fulfil the committee’s request,” Mnuchin wrote in a letter to the panel's chairman Richard Neal

In doing so, legal experts argue, Mnuchin may have broken the law.

"I will consult with counsel and determine the appropriate response," Neal said in a statement on Monday. 

He had originally demanded access to Trump's tax returns in early April under a law that says the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) "shall furnish" the returns of any taxpayer to a handful of top lawmakers.

Neal maintains that the committee is looking into the effectiveness of IRS mandatory audits of tax returns of all sitting presidents, a way to justify his claim that the panel has a potential legislative purpose. Democrats are confident in their legal justification and say Trump is stalling in an attempt to punt the issue past the 2020 election. 

Trump has privately made clear he has no intention of turning over the much-coveted records. He is the first president since Watergate to decline to make his tax returns public, often claiming that he would release them if he was not under audit. 

"What's unprecedented is this secretary refusing to comply with our lawful ... request. What's unprecedented is a Justice Department that again sees its role as being bodyguard to the executive and not the rule of law," said New Jersey Democrat Bill Pascrell.

"What's unprecedented is an entire federal government working in concert to shield a corrupt president from legal accountability." 

Here's Tom Embury-Dennis with more.

Joe Sommerlad7 May 2019 10:15
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The Mnuchin episode and Bill Barr's no-show before the House Judiciary Committee last Thursday are the latest examples of the White House stonewalling Capitol Hill.

But the administration's refusal to comply with investigators goes beyond Washington.

New York state's attorney general Letitia James is suing the Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service over their failure to turn over records when requested.

Here's Chris Riotta.

Joe Sommerlad7 May 2019 10:30
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President Trump has had a busy couple of days on Twitter: defending members of the alt-right after they were booted off social media, announcing the appointment of Mark Morgan to head Immigration and Customs Enforcement, calling out the outcome of the Kentucky Derby, backtracking on whether Robert Mueller should testify before Congress and attacking trade with China and aid to Puerto Rico.

In person, he's given the US's highest civilian honour (and a creepy hug) to golfer Tiger Woods and presented a trophy to the US Army's American football team.

Joe Sommerlad7 May 2019 10:45
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He's also found time to pardon Michael Behenna, a former US soldier who stripped an Iraqi prisoner naked and then shot him twice.

Behenna, a platoon leader in the 101st Airborne Division, was convicted of unpremeditated murder and sentenced to 25 years for killing Ali Mansur Mohamed, a suspected al-Qaeda terrorist, in Iraq in 2008.

Joe Sommerlad7 May 2019 11:00
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Trump's secretary of state Mike Pompeo spent the weekend denying climate change in Finland and arguing the melting of polar sea ice was great news for trade.

He's just cancelled a meeting with German chancellor Angela Merkel, citing "pressing issues".

Joe Sommerlad7 May 2019 11:15
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Here's Andrew Buncombe with Bernie Sanders' irate response to the president's u-turn on whether or not Robert Mueller should make his upcoming testimony before the House.

"You are not a dictator", the candidate found himself forced to remind the occupant of the Oval Office.

Joe Sommerlad7 May 2019 11:30

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