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Trump siding with Putin over U.S. is enough for impeachment, Texas Democrat says

Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-Texas) said he would vote in favor of impeaching President Donald Trump, if given the opportunity. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump's performance during a joint press conference with Russian leader Vladimir Putin is enough for a potential impeachment to go forward, according to the Democratic representative challenging Sen. Ted Cruz in Texas, The Dallas Morning News reported.

Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-Texas) told The Dallas Morning News that he would vote to impeach the president if he was asked to.

"Standing on stage in another country with the leader of another country who wants to and has sought to undermine this country, and to side with him over the United States -- if I were asked to vote on this, I would vote to impeach the president," O'Rourke said.

Why impeachment?

New calls for impeachment of Trump and even some mentions of the word "treason" followed a joint press conference during which Trump said he believed Putin that Russia did not interfere in the 2016 elections, despite U.S. intelligence agencies having said otherwise.

"I have President Putin; he just said it's not Russia," Trump said during the press conference Monday. "I will say this: I don't see any reason why it would be, but I really do want to see the server."

O'Rourke said he thinks Trump's comments create sufficient cause for an impeachment case to proceed.

"Impeachment, much like an indictment, shows that there is enough there for the case to proceed and at this point there is certainly enough there for the case to proceed," O'Rourke said.

O'Rourke's opinion contradicts that of Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.), vice chairwoman of the House Democratic Caucus, who said the facts just aren't there.

"In order to prosecute a case for impeachment, you have to have the underlying facts," Sanchez told Politico. "We don't know all the facts yet. And until the time that we do, we can't make a decision on whether or not impeachment is warranted."

Tuesday, Trump clarified that he meant to say he had no reason to think Russia "wouldn't" have interfered with the election, and that he accepts the findings of U.S. intelligence.

Cruz mocks 'fringe' candidate O'Rourke

Cruz and his campaign responded to O'Rourke's impeachment comments by painting his opponent as a far-left candidate who did not represent the views of the state he was running in.

"He is the only major party candidate in America to call for impeachment," Cruz campaign manager Jeff Roe said. "Elizabeth Warren hasn't done it. Bernie Sanders hasn't done it. Nancy Pelosi hasn't done it. This is a fringe candidate in the Democrat Party."

Cruz himself abstained from criticizing the president, instead focusing on the need to take a strong stance against Russia.

"I think we need to be acting vigorously to prevent Russian aggression," Cruz said, according to CNN's Manu Raju. "And I think it's a mistake to be apologizing for Vladimir Putin."

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