At least 226 members of the House of Representatives have publicly backed the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, based on his efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, his refusal to comply with congressional subpoenas and his alleged obstruction of justice.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced a full-blown impeachment inquiry into Trump over his effort to pressure Ukraine on Sept. 24. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) has also declared that his committee is engaged in “formal impeachment proceedings” over Trump’s obstruction of justice and invoked Congress’ impeachment power in court filings. No vote has been taken to open a formal impeachment inquiry as was done previously in the cases of Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton.
The impeachment inquiry initially faced resistance from some Democratic Party leaders, who control the 435-member chamber. Earlier, Pelosi cautioned that opening the inquiry would prove “divisive” and is something Trump desires as a potential political benefit to him. But, as support grew among her caucus following revelations about Trump’s conduct toward Ukraine, she announced that she backed an impeachment inquiry into the president.
Support for opening an impeachment inquiry surged following revelations about the president’s efforts to pressure Ukraine to open an investigation into Biden while withholding military aid from the country. Prior to that, it had grown steadily throughout the year as the president’s intransigence toward Congress intensified. The failure of former White House counsel Don McGahn to comply with a subpoena for his testimony resulted in one of the first big bursts of support for impeachment.
The House majority of lawmakers backing the inquiry consist of 225 Democrats ― over 90% of the party’s caucus ― and one then-Republican, Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan, who has since become an independent. The group includes 23 Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee ― all but one of the party members on the panel. All of the Democrats on the committee, however, voted to open an impeachment investigation into the president.
The six House committee chairs conducting the formal impeachment inquiry into Trump called his actions toward Ukraine “a shakedown” on Sept. 25.
“Congress is now exercising its constitutional responsibility to investigate under the umbrella of impeachment, and we need cooperation immediately,” the chairs said in a letter.
Calls for an impeachment inquiry began earlier with the release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 elections. 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. Many more voiced support for impeachment after the Ukraine revelations in September.
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. Sen. Mitt Romney (Utah) is the lone Republican senator to publicly express concerns about Trump’s behavior toward Ukraine.
The formal impeachment inquiry announced by Pelosi on Sept. 24 is being conducted by six House committees. The committees are tasked with investigating Trump’s effort to pressure Ukraine into opening an investigation into Biden, potentially as part of a quid pro quo for military aid.
The Judiciary Committee was already investigating the 10 episodes of potential obstruction of justice outlined in Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 election and Trump’s stonewalling of the congressional effort to dig deeper into Mueller’s probe as part of an impeachment investigation.
Those who long called for an impeachment inquiry argued that it would 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 believed, 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.
But she said on Sept. 24 that Trump’s efforts to pressure Ukraine to help his reelection campaign had crossed the line as an impeachable act.
Here are the House members who have publicly called for Congress to launch an impeachment inquiry:
Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Speaker of the House
Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), House Majority Leader
Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.), House Majority Whip
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. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.), House Judiciary Committee member
Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.), House Judiciary Committee member
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), House Judiciary Committee member, Democratic leadership team
Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), House Judiciary Committee member, Committee on House Administration chair
Rep. Sylvia Garcia (D-Texas), House Judiciary Committee member
Rep. Lou Correa (D-Calif.), House Judiciary Committee member
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 and Infrastructure Committee chair
Rep. Katherine Clark (D-Mass.), Democratic leadership team
Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), House Foreign Affairs Committee chair
Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (D-N.M.), Democratic leadership team
Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), Democratic leadership team
Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas), House Science, Space, and Technology chair
Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), House Oversight and Reform Committee chair
Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.), House Ways & Means Committee chair
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), House Intelligence Committee chair
Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.), House Education and Labor Committee chair
Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.), Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chair
This article has been updated to add lawmakers backing an impeachment inquiry, and to provide additional details about calls for impeachment.
CORRECTION: This article prematurely listed Rep. Harley Rouda (D-Calif.) as calling for an impeachment inquiry. He did not do so until July.