At least 125 members of the House of Representatives 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 possible obstruction of justice.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) has declared that the committee is engaged in “formal impeachment proceedings” and invoked Congress’ impeachment power in court filings. No vote has been taken to open a formal impeachment inquiry as was done previously during the impeachments of Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton.
The impeachment inquiry still faces resistance from some Democratic Party leaders who control the 435-member chamber. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is cautioning that opening the inquiry would 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 House members calling for an impeachment inquiry has increased every week since former White House counsel Don McGahn failed to comply with a subpoena for his testimony.
These lawmakers consist of 124 Democrats ― a majority of the party’s caucus ― and one then-Republican, Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan, who has since become an independent. The group includes 17 Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee ― more than half of the party members on the panel.
Special counsel Robert Mueller said on May 29 that if his investigation into Trump found that the president did not commit the crime of obstruction of justice, the report would have said so. The report contained no such exoneration. He also noted that Justice Department regulations precluded his office from indicting a sitting president and implied that the only way to accuse a president of wrongdoing was through Congress’ impeachment authority.
“The Constitution requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse a sitting president of wrongdoing,” Mueller said.
Just two senators ― Democrats Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Kamala Harris of California ― had publicly backed an impeachment inquiry before Mueller spoke about his report’s findings. Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) called for an inquiry after Mueller’s May 29 comments. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) endorsed an impeachment inquiry on May 30.
But 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.
A formal 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 Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 election, Trump’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 May 22 accused Trump of engaging in a cover-up, and at a news conference the following day, she 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 described the impeachment process as “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,” she said.
Here are the House members who have publicly called for Congress to launch an impeachment inquiry:
Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), House Judiciary Committee chair
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-Pa.), House Judiciary Committee vice-chair
Rep. Greg Stanton (D-Ariz.), House Judiciary Committee member
Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), House Judiciary Committee member
Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), House Judiciary Committee member
Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.), House Judiciary Committee member
Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D-Fla.), House Judiciary Committee member
Rep. Madeleine Dean (D-Pa.) House Judiciary Committee member
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), House Judiciary Committee member
Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.), House Judiciary Committee member, House Ethics Committee chair
Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), House Financial Services Committee chair
Rep. John Yarmuth (D-Ky.), House Budget Committee chair
Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), Democratic leadership team
Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), House Homeland Security Committee chair
Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), House Rules Committee chair
Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), House Natural Resources Committee chair
Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Mich.), Democratic leadership team
Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-N.Y.), House Small Business Committee chair
Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), House Armed Services Committee chair
Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee chair
Rep. Katherine Clark (D-Mass.), Democratic leadership team
Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), House Foreign Affairs Committee chair
This article has been updated to add lawmakers backing an impeachment inquiry.
CORRECTION: This article prematurely listed Rep. Harley Rouda (D-Calif.) as calling for an impeachment inquiry. He did not do so until July.