Democratic California Rep. Ted Lieu said during a Friday night appearance on “Hardball with Chris Matthews” that he doesn’t think there is currently enough evidence to impeach President Donald Trump.
Lieu’s comments came hours after special counsel Robert Mueller signaled the end of his investigation into Russian collusion with the Trump campaign.
“What’s the next step? I mean you’ve got the Congress decides on impeachment. The Speaker said it’s off the table. Is it back on the table or still off the table? Where’s impeachment? It’s now March, late March. Is it something that’s going to come up in the next couple months or not?” Matthews asked.
“The mission of special counsel Mueller is fairly narrow, right? He’s looking at whether he can get enough evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that someone committed a federal crime,” Lieu answered. “The committees in Congress have a much broader mission. We want to know, ‘Did Donald Trump, his family or associates commit any crime, whether or not it was related to Russia? Second, did they engage in any ethical misconduct whether or not it rose to the level of a crime?'”
He continued, “Third, how to keep this from happening again and how to explain it to the American people? So our investigations are going to continue. Based on what we find, we’ll have a conversation with the American people and decide should we go forward or not with impeachment but we don’t have enough of a record to decide that question yet.”
Matthews followed up, “What’s winning right now? The case for impeachment or the case against it? What’s winning as of tonight?”
“I don’t think we have enough facts to go forward with impeachment,” Lieu concluded.
The special counsel submitted the report to Attorney General William Barr on Friday evening. It is now up to Barr to determine what lawmakers will see and when. He said he could share the report with lawmakers as soon as this weekend. (RELATED: Mueller Expected To Make Moves After The Midterms — Here’s What He Could Do)
The special counsel’s office indicted or obtained guilty pleas from 34 individuals throughout the course of the investigation, which began in May of 2017. Six Trump associates were either indicted or pleaded guilty in the probe; however, none faced charges related to conspiracy with Russia. Mueller reportedly did not recommend any additional amendments prior to the conclusion of the investigation.