Sen. King on Impeachment: 'I'm Not There Yet...We Really Need the Facts'

By Susan Jones | May 17, 2017 | 8:34 AM EDT

Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) says it's too soon to talk about impeachment. He appeared on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on Wednesday, May 17, 2017. (Screen grab from MSNBC)

( – The words “impeachment” and “obstruction of justice” were flying around the airwaves Wednesday morning, following press reports that President Trump, in February, asked then-FBI Director James Comey to end the federal investigation into Michael Flynn, according to notes Comey reportedly wrote after his conversation with Trump.

As for impeachment, "I’m not there yet, I think we’ve got a long way to go," Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on Wednesday. "We’ve got to slow down and take a deep breath. I think as everybody has said this morning…we really need the facts. We need to see the memos. We don’t know what the context was. We don’t even have Jim Comey authenticating the memo. We have a memo that’s attributed to him," King said.

"We have the White House saying that the conversation didn’t occur. We need to see what, if any evidence they have of that. And, you know, there's a long way to go before we start talking about changing the presidency or removing someone from office."

King noted that the United States, unlike other countries, does not have a no-confidence vote. That is not the purpose of impeachment.

“High crimes and misdemeanors is a very high bar. No president has been removed from office using that. It cannot be used to simply change somebody whose politics we don’t like. That would be a real disservice to the Constitution.”

King added it would be “very serious” if the president, Comey’s boss, asked the FBI to terminate an active investigation:

“That’s a pretty serious matter, and it’s one that we really have to get to the bottom of before we start talking about whatever else happens later.”

King said those who are talking about impeachment right now, in the absence of evidence, are talking about “nullifying an election.”

“I’ve done a lot of research years ago on the Andrew Johnson impeachment," he said. "That was a pivotal moment in our history because it was one party trying to get rid of a president of the other party, fundamentally because they didn’t like his politics.

“That cannot happen,” King said. “We cannot allow that to happen. We’ve got to focus on whether there was some kind of crime committed.”

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the ranking member of the House intelligence committee, had similar sentiments about impeachment:

“It would be a “wrenching experience” for the country and not something we should “eagerly embrace in the absence of some very hard evidence,” Schiff told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

“So we need to find out if that hard evidence exists, I think, before we leap to any conclusions.”