WASHINGTON — Robert Mueller was still in the early stages of his testimony Wednesday morning when Omaha Democrat Kara Eastman let loose on Twitter.
“Watching the #MuellerHearing is a reminder of how hyper-partisanship influences all aspects of American government,” she tweeted. “Congress needs to do its job and begin #ImpeachmentHearingsNow.”
Eastman is vying with Ann Ashford for the Democratic nomination in Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District, which is currently represented by Republican Rep. Don Bacon.
Additional Democrats could mount campaigns for the nomination, as well.
Ashford took issue with Eastman’s statement and particularly with how soon into Mueller’s testimony it came — suggesting that it demonstrated partisanship on Eastman’s part.
“I trust Congress and I trust that they are going through the investigation process and this is part of the investigation process,” Ashford said. “They’re not done.”
Eastman rejected the idea that she’s being partisan and instead said she’s just standing up for the American people.
“To me, this is the end of our democracy if we don’t act now,” she said.
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Opening an impeachment inquiry should happen in a bipartisan fashion and would provide more information, Eastman said.
“I’m watching and listening and learning, and there have been clear crimes committed,” she said. “It does appear that the sitting president has committed impeachable offenses, but there’s a process that needs to take place and Congress needs to act.”
Their differing perspectives reflect the range of sentiment among House Democrats on the impeachment matter, with some pushing to start proceedings soon and others preferring to hold off.
In a press conference following Mueller’s testimony, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., talked about having the strongest hand before going down the impeachment road and noted that Democrats are still fighting with the administration in court over aspects of the investigation.
Ashford echoed that sentiment when she said it’s troubling that the administration is not more cooperative with Congress and that it’s important for any impeachment proceeding to be rooted in the facts.
“I see obstruction in the Mueller report outlined, but again, I’m not privy to everything,” Ashford said. “If I was privy to everything, and if that obstruction does exist, then there’s no choice but to impeach. But we have to wait for Congress. We have to be patient a little bit longer.”
For his part, Bacon has said the Mueller report shows no collusion by Trump with the Russians.
On the obstruction front, Bacon said the president did and said things that were unwise. But he believes there’s insufficient evidence of high crimes and misdemeanors.
“Presidential succession should be determined by election unless it’s compelling crimes and misdemeanors, and I don’t think we have that,” Bacon said. “I don’t think we have that at all.”
Bacon said the country wants to move on and predicted that Mueller’s testimony on Wednesday will provide little momentum to those seeking impeachment.
“I think they were looking for a Hail Mary pass and they got stopped at the line of scrimmage,” he said.
Meet the Nebraska state senators
Here are the 49 state senators of Nebraska's 106th Legislature. You can click here to find your state senator.