Kirsten Gillibrand says she's the "best candidate" to take on Trump

Gillibrand on "best candidate" against Trump

While Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-New York, is still in the exploratory phase of the already jam-packed 2020 Democratic presidential primary race, she says that she's the "best candidate" to take on President Trump and fully expects to run against the sitting president next year. She told "CBS This Morning" that she can take on the Republican while reaching out to every American "no matter where you live."

"So the truth is, I am the best candidate to run against President Trump because I can bring this country back together. I can not only inspire the base on progressive issues that I'm running on like actually passing a Green New Deal, Medicare for all – health care is a right, not a privilege – but also being able to reach out to those red and purple voters to be heard and to have them come to the table and be represented," Gillibrand said on Monday. 

The Democrat was confident she could gain support from her Republican colleagues on issues like the environment and health care in a highly partisan Congress. She cited her past work passing the 9/11 Health and Compensation Act to assist first responders with the support of conservative members and her 2-to-1 run in a Republican district in upstate New York. 

"You have to find common ground, you have to be able to reach across the aisle, listen, find out where you agree and build from there," she added. 

Gillibrand announced she is forming an exploratory committee to run for president during an appearance on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" back in January.  The 52-year-old is one of the most active and outspoken critics of Mr. Trump and she earned acclaim from party activists when she began voting against all of the president's Cabinet and senior government nominees in early 2017.

Asked why she hasn't committed to a full 2020 campaign yet, Gillibrand told CBS that she's taking the time to travel around the country to talk to people about what's on their minds.

"What's happening in this country is devastating. President Trump has created such divisions, such darkness, such hate, and we need someone who can restore what has been lost, that moral integrity, that leadership in the world and I'm running because as a mom of young kids, I really think we need a president that will fight for other people's children, their communities, their families in the same way you would fight for your own," she said. 

Gillibrand said despite mounting pressure to investigate the president and threats of impeachment, she predicted that she would face off against Mr. Trump on the campaign trail. The Democrat said in the meantime, Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 campaign and possible ties between the Trump campaign and the Russian government needs to be completed.

"We have hearings in the House of Representatives that will create transparency and accountability on issues of collusion, on issues of obstruction, on issues of fraud and election fraud, those are the types of issues the American people want clarity on," said Gillibrand. 

Gillibrand, however, would not say if she would vote to support impeachment proceedings of the president, saying "that's an issue for the House to decide." 

"They will decide what the facts are and reveal it to us and then if they do do impeachment proceedings then it comes to the senate and then you are in charge of basically holding a trial," she said.

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    Emily Tillett is the digital producer at "Face the Nation"