Tulsi Gabbard Defends 'Present' Vote; Warns Impeachment Will Backfire

Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D) has taken flack from the left after voting "present" during last week's formal House impeachment vote, and now says that the process may only "embolden" President Trump and increase his chances of reelection (which House Speaker Nancy Pelosi warned about before she caved to her party).

"I think impeachment, unfortunately, will only further embolden Donald Trump, increase his support and the likelihood that he'll have a better shot at getting elected while also seeing the likelihood that the House will lose a lot of seats to Republicans," said Gabbard in a Saturday interview with ABC News in Hudson, New Hampshire.

Gabbard also told CBS News that impeachment may allow Republicans to regain the majority in the House after the 2020 election. 

Gabbard -- a 2020 president candidate -- noted that the prospect of a second term for Trump and a Republican-controlled House is a "serious concern" of hers, adding that she's worried about the potential ramifications that will be left if Trump is acquitted.

She told ABC News that it could leave "lasting damage" on the country as a whole.

The Democratic congresswoman -- who is known to be an outspoken critic of her own party -- was the lone lawmaker to not choose a side on impeachment, and has faced intense criticism for her choice. -ABC News

Gabbard defended her decision to vote present, calling it an "active protest" against the "terrible fallout of this zero sum mindset" between Democrats and Republicans. She told ABC News that her vote was "not a decision of neutrality," and that she was indeed "standing up for the people of this country and our ability to move forward together.