Tim Ryan does not support impeachment proceedings against Trump

'Let the process play itself out'

By Veronica Stracqualursi, CNN
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH)

2020 Democratic candidate Tim Ryan said he does not support beginning the impeachment process against President Donald Trump, even though he argued that special counsel Robert Mueller's report shows the President committed obstruction of justice.

"Let the process play itself out," Ryan told CNN's Jake Tapper Sunday on "State of the Union."

Though he argued "it's pretty clear that the President obstructed on several different occasions," Ryan said he believes the "first step" should be for House Judiciary Committee chairman Jerry Nadler to "continue to open up this investigation to better understand this."

"Let the Judiciary Committee look at this. There's a process in place here," Ryan said, adding: "I think that's the natural next step, and let's see where that leaves."

Nadler said Sunday on NBC News' "Meet the Press" he thinks some of the matters brought forth in the Mueller report, if proven, are impeachable for President Donald Trump. He, however, did not specifically call for impeachment hearings, saying he first wants to hear Mueller's testimony in front of the committee. Nadler had formally requested Mueller to testify "no later than May 23, 2019."

Asked by NBC about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's role in potential impeachment, Nadler indicated it is up to "partly her and partly a lot of other people."

After the Mueller report's release on Thursday, House Democratic leadership opted not to encourage potential impeachment, while a small number of House Democrats have argued that it should be pursued.

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, another 2020 Democratic candidate, called on Friday for the House to begin impeachment proceedings against Trump.

Ryan told CNN on Sunday that while he "(understands) their move to try to impeach" Trump, "I would rather us take this next step, educate the American people, really get these details out."

"This is a very nuanced document," Ryan said of the redacted report, adding later that "it's very detailed, the American people, through this process, will get up to speed with how this administration has been behaving.

The Mueller report said the special counsel's investigation does not exonerate Trump of criminal conduct on the issue of obstruction. The redacted report details numerous cases in which Trump asked his aides to take actions that would have obstructed the investigation, but stated they were unsuccessful because the aides refused his orders.

Attorney General William Barr concluded that the evidence was "not sufficient to establish that the President committed an obstruction-of-justice offense."

But House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff told "Fox News Sunday" there will be a Democratic caucus meeting in the next couple of weeks "to figure out what the best course is" on whether to proceed with impeachment.

"We will have to decide, do we nonetheless go through an impeachment because to do otherwise would signal that somehow this President's conduct is okay, that future presidents can engage in this kind of corruption without consequence, or do we decide that we are better off doing oversight through the context of oversight hearings by the various committees rather than a formal impeachment?" Schiff told Fox News. "That's going to be a very consequential decision and one that I'm going to reserve judgment on until we have a chance to fully deliberate about it."

CNN's Gregory Clary, Jeremy Herb and Laura Jarrett contributed to this report.

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