At least 32 members of the House have publicly called for the launch of an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, based on his refusal to comply with congressional subpoenas and his obstruction of justice.
The impeachment inquiry still faces resistance from the Democratic Party leaders who control the 435-member chamber. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is cautioning that opening the inquiry prove “divisive” and is something Trump desires as a potential political benefit to him.
But as the president’s intransigence toward Congress has intensified, support for an inquiry is growing. The number of lawmakers calling for an inquiry has more than doubled in the past week ― 18 of the 32 lawmakers calling for a start of the impeachment process have done so since May 18.
The ranks of these lawmakers consist of 31 Democrats and one Republican. They include eight Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee ― one-third of the party members on the panel.
Just two senators ― Democrats Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Kamala Harris of California ― publicly back an impeachment inquiry. And no signs have surfaced that if articles of impeachment passed the House on the required majority vote, the effort would come anywhere close to the two-thirds Senate vote needed to remove Trump from office.
An impeachment inquiry would centralize Congress’ investigation into whether Trump committed impeachable offenses in the House Judiciary Committee. The committee would then subpoena documents and testimony and hold hearings on any potential line of inquiry that could relate to an impeachable offense.
The inquiry could dig into the 10 episodes of potential obstruction of justice outlined in special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 election, Trump’s president’s stonewalling of the congressional effort to dig deeper into Mueller’s probe, or other areas like payments made by foreign governments to the president’s business in violation of the Constitution’s emoluments clause.
Those calling for the inquiry argue that it will strengthen their hand in winning court fights with the White House if they formally declare that Congress is investigating the president in order to determine if he should be impeached. This, they believe, could help overcome the Trump administration’s refusals to abide by subpoenas and other requests for documents necessary to investigate his alleged abuses.
Pelosi on Wednesday accused Trump of engaging in a cover-up, and at a Thursday news conference said the president is “crying out” for Democrats to move to oust him. But she stressed at her news conference that the House’s Democratic caucus ”is not on a path to impeachment ― and that’s where he wants us to be.”
She termed the impeachment process “a very divisive place to go in our country.” Ongoing congressional inquiries into various actions by Trump “may take us to a place that is unavoidable in terms of impeachment, but we’re not at that place.”
Here are the House members who have publicly called for Congress to launch an impeachment inquiry:
Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), House Judiciary Committee member
Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.), House Judiciary Committee member, Democratic leadership team
Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), House Judiciary Committee member, Democratic leadership team
Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), House Judiciary Committee member, Democratic leadership team
Rep. Val Demings (D-Fla.), House Judiciary Committee member
Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Colo.), House Judiciary Committee member, Democratic leadership team
Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-Texas), House Judiciary Committee member
Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon (D-Penn.), House Judiciary Committee vice-chair
Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), House Financial Services Committee chair
Rep. John Yarmuth (D-Ky.), House Budget Committee chair
This story has been updated with the increased number of lawmakers backing an impeachment inquiry.