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Kamala Harris describes tension in the Democratic Party over impeachment

Harris: Trump to blame for Iran tensions
Kamala Harris says Trump to blame for Iran tensions 06:37

2020 Democratic hopeful Sen. Kamala Harris of California reiterated her support for impeachment proceedings against President Trump but admitted there is tension within the Democratic party over moving forward. In an interview with CBS News political correspondent Ed O'Keefe, Harris said that she believes impeachment is "the existential question."

"This is the tension which is, do you stand to fight for these principles that were part of the — the spirit behind the design of our democracy, checks and balances, accountability?" Harris asked. "Or do you stand with strategy, which is what is the ultimate goal and if it's saying that this guy should not be in office and if this could hurt the chances of winning an election, should you hold off?"

Harris is one of five 2020 candidates who have called for an impeachment inquiry, having first addressed the issue during a CNN Town Hall in April. Even at that time, the former California attorney general said she was a "realist" and that it was doubtful that Senate Republicans would back removing the president from office.

She told CBS News that there were arguably 11 counts of obstruction of justice worth pursuing against Mr. Trump in the Mueller report.

"If you also go on to read what's in these documents and including that memo, you will know that it leaves open explicitly the right of Congress and perhaps the duty, even, of Congress to act. And the way Congress then must act, is to take a look at this and open an inquiry into what exactly was the conduct and whether there should be accountability for that conduct," Harris said.

According to the report released by the special counsel's office, Mr. Trump may have engaged in 10 "discreet acts" in which obstruction of justice may have occurred, including the president's termination of then-FBI chief James Comey.

For Harris, the issue of impeachment also comes down to a personal decision: "This is a tension and I think each person is going to have to make a decision about where they stand. I have chosen to stand with the position that I believe the — the proceedings should begin."

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