A majority of House Democrats now say they support launching impeachment proceedings of President Trump, a significant milestone that puts added pressure on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to begin the process of removing the president from office.
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, saying in a statement that Trump “evaded truth, encouraged his staff to lie repeatedly to investigators and engaged in obstruction,” adding “that’s criminal.”
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).
Despite the growing calls for an impeachment inquiry, Pelosi, D-Calif., has remained steadfast in recommending restraint.
Just hours after Carbajal’s announcement, Pelosi released a statement listing the various ways in which House Democrats are pursuing investigations into Trump and his administration, saying the president “will be held accountable” and that in America, “no one is above the law.”
“We owe it to our children to ensure that no present or future president can dishonor the oath of office without being held accountable,” she said.
The statement hewed closely to Pelosi’s previous comments about the impeachment question, including her remarks at her final weekly press conference before the House departed for its August recess.
“We will proceed when we have what we need to proceed — not one day sooner,” Pelosi said last week. The speaker added that members can “espouse their own position” on impeachment and are welcome to criticize her stance. But she has continued to urge Democrats to “legislate, investigate and litigate.”
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.