Romney Was 'Troubled' by Mueller Report, But Opposes Impeachment

Susan Jones | May 20, 2019 | 7:53am EDT
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Donald Trump endorsed Mitt Romney for president on February 2, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Trump also endorsed Romney for senator in 2018. But Romney is one of Trump's most outspoken Republican critics. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

( - Rep. Justin Amash (Mich.) is the first Republican to say President Donald Trump's behavior, as described in the Mueller report, meets "the threshold for impeachment."

In a series of tweets over the weekend, Amash said if Trump weren't a sitting president, he would be indicted for obstruction of justice.

While the House can impeach Trump, or bring charges against him, it's up to the Senate to remove him from office, and so far, not a single Republican senator -- not even Trump's harshest Republican critics -- have advocated his removal.

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) has said that Trump's "pervasive dishonesty," as reflected in the Mueller report, "sickened" him.

But on Sunday, Romney told CNN's "State of the Union" that he has reached a different conclusion on impeachment than Amash has:

"I believe that to make a case for obstruction of justice, you just don't have the elements that are evidenced in this document. And I also believe that an impeachment call is not only something that relates to the law, but also considers practicality and politics.

"And the American people just aren't there. And I think those that are considering impeachment have to look also at the jury, which would be the Senate. The Senate is certainly not there either," Romney said.

Host Jake Tapper pressed Romney on whether he thinks there is "sufficient evidence" that the president obstructed justice:

"I just don't think that there is the full element that you need to prove an obstruction of justice case. I don't think a prosecutor would actually look at this and say, OK, we have here all the elements that would get this to a conviction.

"So, everyone reaches their own conclusion. As I read the report, I was troubled by it. It was very disappointing, for a number of reasons. But it did not suggest to me that this was time to call for impeachment."

Romney said the Mueller report revealed a number of things that were "really, really troubling and unfortunate and distressing." He mentioned the president's "dishonesty, misleading the American public and the media," but, he added, "I don't think impeachment is the right way to go."

Romney said it's difficult to make a case for obstruction of justice when there is no underlying crime.

Not giving up, Tapper gave Romney another opening to criticize the president, asking him, "Do you think that the president has failed, based on what's in the Mueller report, as a moral leader?"

"Well, I have -- through op-eds and through the things I have said, I have made it very, very clear that I will support the president on policies where we agree. I will disagree with him openly if there's something that I think is wrong for the country or for my state," Romney said.

"But I think he could substantially improve his game when it comes to helping shape the character of the country. I think young people, as well as people around the world, look at the president of the United States and say, does he exhibit the kind of qualities that we would want to emulate?

"And those are qualities of humility, of honesty, integrity. And those are things where I think there's been some call where the president has distanced himself from some of the best qualities of the human character."

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