Washington DC — UPDATE: Special Counsel Robert Mueller made a public statement today, reiterating that the Justice Department cannot charge a sitting president. The statement raises questions again about what Congress will do about the possibility of impeachment.
With the Mueller report out and some leading 2020 Democratic presidential candidates calling for impeachment, young people remain mixed on whether to remove President Donald Trump from office.
Many progressives are still set on impeaching the president.
“Impeachment is most definitely justifiable,” Devon Bradley, who serves as vice president of the D.C. College Democrats, told YR Media.
Bradley points to Trump’s initial reaction to the probe as evidence of the president’s guilt.
“Oh my God. This is terrible. This is the end of my presidency. I’m fucked,” Trump said when he learned Mueller had been appointed to investigate him.
“Not a single innocent soul would ever utter these words,” Bradley says, adding, “It is imperative for Congress to pursue impeachment.”
Trump backers largely remain opposed.
“The Democrats need to accept defeat and start working for their constituents rather than trying to delegitimize the President,” Manny Jones, the co-chairman of the Pennsylvania Federation of College Republicans, said. “This investigation has gone on for far too long.”
Manny’s views echo what conservatives of all ages have been thinking for some time. An NPR/PBS/Marist poll from December 2018 found that 71 percent of Republicans saw the Mueller probe as a “witch hunt.”
Many students, on the left and the right, aren’t so sure what to do or think.
“I have so many conflicting thoughts about what they should do,” said Jasmeen Pooni, a junior at the University of California, Davis.
On one hand, she likes the no-nonsense standard that impeachment proceedings would set. But on the flip side, she doesn’t know if it’s worth it at this point.
“I feel like Trump has already served almost three years and we haven’t been able to get him out of office,” Pooni said. “Maybe we should focus on getting him out of the office in the 2020 election.”
“I think it's really important for us, in this country, to come together and have the American people vote to take Donald Trump out of office in 2020,” she said.
A lot of the frontrunners in the 2020 presidential race, however, are giving the go-ahead on impeachment. Elizabeth Warren was the first to advocate impeachment proceedings, and others are following.
Kamala Harris, in her CNN town hall on April 22, came out in favor of impeachment. Pete Buttigieg says he thinks the president “deserves to be impeached.” And Julián Castro recently also announced his support for impeachment proceedings.
But some young voters are saying there just isn’t enough evidence for impeachment right now.
“The obstruction case isn’t strong enough,” Azam Janmohamed, a student at Stanford University who identifies as left-leaning, said. “Even if the House draws up the articles of impeachment, it’ll be portrayed as a partisan circus that will only serve to undermine what is already low public faith in our political institutions.”
Kevin Xiao, a Republican but not a Trump backer, doesn’t believe there’s “legal basis for impeaching the president” based on the report. But he also doesn’t take issue with further investigation.
“I don’t see any problem with the House and Senate Intelligence and Judiciary Committees continuing their investigations into the 2016 election, as long as the scope of their investigation remains within reason instead of a political wild goose chase,” Xiao told YR Media.
He emphasized that these investigations shouldn’t be a priority for the legislature. “I don’t think that the investigations should take center stage in any way politically; Congress has the ability to do multiple things at once,” he said.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has signaled opposition to impeachment at this moment. But even if the House does choose to begin impeachment proceedings, young people have made it clear that the Mueller report is not the biggest issue for them in 2020.
This story was originally published on May 2, 2019