Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe said Sunday that lawmakers should consider whether to impeach President Donald Trump, who he said has been “bear-hugging” Russian President Vladimir Putin while the foreign leader attempts to undermine U.S. democracy.
“I think that’s something we ought to look at,” the Democrat said on CNN’s “State of the Union“, when asked by Jake Tapper whether Trump should be impeached.
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“If President Clinton or President Obama had gone to Helsinki and done what President Trump had done, you would already have impeachment hearings going on,” he said, in reference to a news conference alongside Putin where Trump appeared to give equal weight to the findings of the American intelligence community that Russia meddled in the 2016 election and to Putin’s denial of that fact.
The U.S is battling Russia on multiple fronts, McAuliffe said, citing Ukraine and Syria.
“There has to be a reason, Jake, why he is over there acting the way he acts about Putin, then inviting them here, and then saying he may go over there,” he said. “Do not forget that they came into the 2016 election, they came in and tried to destroy the greatest democracy in the world.”
“And now we’re hearing this week that they’re continuing their efforts,” he added. “He is our enemy. We should fight him and quick bear-hugging him, like Trump likes to do.”
Still, McAuliffe said he doesn’t like to focus on Trump in his public speeches, arguing the Democratic Party should be talking about jobs and education. “As we go into these elections, it’s about the values, what you stand for,” he said.
He also said the attention should be focused on midterm elections, not the presidential election in 2020.
“Our future is on the line this year,” McAuliffe said. “These candidates should not be talking about 2020. We need to make sure we have a check and balance on President Trump, winning the House and Senate and these governors.”
“When 2020 comes, I hope everybody runs,” he added. “But our message as a party ought to be, like I had in Virginia, how do you grow an economy? Unemployment went from 5.4 to 3.6. How do you invest in education?”