Majority of House Democrats now support inquiry
WASHINGTON – Most House Democrats now say they support launching impeachment proceedings of President Donald Trump, a significant milestone that puts added pressure on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to begin the process of ousting the president.
Florida Rep. Ted Deutch’s announcement Thursday to back an impeachment inquiry and California Rep. Salud Carbajal’s similar pronouncement Friday means that the number of House Democrats supporting the process has risen to at least 118 members, or a majority of the 235-member caucus.
Carbajal, who represents Santa Barbara, and Deutch, who represents parts of South Florida, are among the roughly two dozen Democrats who have joined the impeachment chorus since former special counsel Robert Mueller testified before Congress July 24 about his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
The report, which concluded Trump might have obstructed justice on 10 separate occasions, was released in April.
“That’s criminal,” Carbajal said in his impeachment statement Friday. “If anyone else did these things, they would face legal consequences. I’ve read the full Mueller Report, the president knew the rules and he broke them – he cannot be above the law.”
The list of 118 members was compiled by numerous media outlets, including CNN, Politico and The Washington Post. It includes the chairs of key House committees: Rep. Eliot Engel (Foreign Relations), Rep. Nita Lowey (Appropriations) and Rep. Adam Smith (Armed Services).
Outspoken liberal freshmen, such as Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, are also among those calling for an inquiry.
The roster does not include Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton of Washington, D.C., who supports impeachment but does not have the power to vote on the floor or Rep. Justin Amash, the former Michigan Republican-turned-independent who also supports impeachment.
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No House Republican is on record backing impeachment.
Pelosi so far has been reluctant to start impeachment proceedings, preferring instead to continue the investigations various House committees have launched into the president’s financial records, his business dealings and the underlying evidence supporting Mueller’s conclusions.
“To protect our democracy and our Constitution, Democrats in the Congress continue to legislate, investigate and litigate,” Pelosi said in a statement released Friday. “In America, no one is above the law. The President will be held accountable.”
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The House voted last month to kill a measure seeking to impeach Trump – the first vote on such a measure since Democrats took the majority and since the release of Mueller’s report.
The 332-95 vote included a majority of Democrats voting along with Republicans to kill the measure – a win for conservatives and the president, who touted the effort’s failure on Twitter.
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Even if it got through the House, the Republican-controlled Senate is unlikely to take it up. Some Democrats fear that such an outcome would be seized on by Trump as vindication that the effort was merit-less and give him a victory heading into the 2020 election.
Voters don’t seem too keen on impeachment either.
A POLITICO/Morning Consult poll, conducted immediately after Mueller’s congressional testimony, found that only 37% of voters say Congress should begin impeachment proceedings, compared to 46% who say it shouldn’t and 16% who were undecided.