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2020 Democratic candidates stand pat on impeachment positions

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By Ben Kamisar and Melissa Holzberg  with NBC News Politics
2020 Democratic candidates stand pat on impeachment positions

WASHINGTON — New allegations that President Donald Trump sought to pressure Ukraine about an investigation of a political opponent have resulted in renewed calls, but not new calls, for impeachment from the Democratic presidential field.

The allegations center around phone conversations Trump had with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in which the president he reportedlypressured Zelensky to investigate the son of former Vice President Joe Biden, who had business dealings in Ukraine.

As news about the conversations broke over the weekend, Biden was asked about the growing calls for impeachment while campaigning in Iowa. "Depending on what the House finds," Biden said, "he could be impeached. But I'm not making that judgment now. The House should investigate it."

On Tuesday, Biden is expected to go a step further by calling on the president and the administration to fully comply with Congress' investigations or face impeachment proceedings, according to his campaign.

Other candidates have long called on the House to begin impeachment hearings, mostly based on the findings from former special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into questions about obstruction of justice and collusion with Russia's interference into the 2016 election.

Many of them renewed their calls over the weekend in Iowa, where most were gathered for the state party's steak fry event.

"He has solicited another foreign government to attack our election system, it is time for us to call out this illegal behavior and start impeachment proceedings right now," Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., said at the event on Saturday.

Other candidates calling for impeachment now also had already supported it prior to the latest allegations.

Former HUD Sec. Julián Castro told Iowa Steak Fry visitors Saturday it was time for House Democrats to "do your job and impeach Donald Trump." Sens. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. and Cory Booker, D-N.J., as well as former Rep. Beto O'Rourke, billionaire Tom Steyer and Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio., have all reiterated their calls for the House to act.

While South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg has also said he supports impeachment, he tempered that call with skepticism that Republicans would follow through with removing Trump from office.

"I support the House in taking on impeachment proceedings. I also think that the only real resolution to this will be defeating this president and his enablers in the Congressional Republican Caucuses," Buttigieg said Monday.

There are some candidates who are calling for more investigations into the president's conduct, but have stopped short of calling for impeachment proceedings to begin. That list includes Sens. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., and Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., as well as entrepreneur Andrew Yang and Montana Gov. Steve Bullock.

Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, who has never supported impeaching Trump, did not change her position during a Tuesday appearance on Fox, saying impeachment would be "terribly divisive for the country."

For his part, President Trump has denied the allegations and called the growing push for impeachment a "ridiculous witch hunt."

"I'm leading in the polls, the only way they can stop me is impeachment," he said while attending the United Nations General Assembly Tuesday in New York.