The majority of the House Democratic caucus now supports an impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump, with Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) becoming the 118th Democrat in the chamber to support moving to such proceedings.
“[President Trump] seems to think that Mueller’s performance wasn’t enough to trigger an impeachment inquiry,” the congressman wrote in an op-ed in the South Florida Sun Sentinel. Sorry, Mr. President, the question is no longer whether the House should vote to proceed with a formal impeachment inquiry. The inquiry has already begun.”
A spokesperson for Deutch confirmed to Politico that he would vote for an impeachment inquiry if such a vote was requested.
Deutch’s announcement is the latest in the slow but steady churn of Democratic representatives coming out in favor of launching the impeachment process, despite House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) resistance to the idea. And it represents both a dark milestone for the president and a new set of complications for House Democrat leadership, which earlier this year argued that they could not begin impeachment proceedings, in part, because the majority of the party did not support doing so.
That is no longer the case, with a number of representatives rushing to support the effort in the days and weeks after former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s testimony before the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees. Only one non-Democrat in the House supports impeachment: newly-declared Independent Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan.
“The American people want, and deserve, the truth. Mr. Mueller’s testimony provided ample evidence that the president committed obstruction of justice, and I believe the House must pursue a formal impeachment inquiry,” House Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot Engel (D-NY) wrote in a statement Tuesday announcing his support for impeachment.
The growth in support for impeachment follows House Judiciary’s efforts to get an impeachment inquiry started on their own. On July 26, The committee formally asked a federal judge to release Mueller’s secret grand jury evidence as a way to broaden their investigations and enforce subpoenas.
“While many people believe that beginning an impeachment investigation can begin only with a vote of the full House of Representatives, this is not true. Article I authorizes the House Judiciary Committee to begin this process,” members of the committee wrote in an Atlantic piece.
Pelosi supported the committee’s effort, but has repeatedly spoken against sparking the impeachment process. “We will proceed when we have what we need to proceed,” she said at a press conference. “Not a day sooner.”
The House Speaker also argued that Trump was “taunting” and “goading” Democrats into handing him a win—under the assumption that the effort would fail in the GOP-controlled Senate. She has also made an appeal to political unity, claiming that a move towards impeachment would be too polarizing.
“I’m not for impeachment,” she told The Washington Post in May. “Impeachment is so divisive to the country that unless there’s something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan, I don’t think we should go down that path, because it divides the country. And he’s just not worth it.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer told Politico that he thought Pelosi was handling the impeachment issue “appropriately.” However, the issue has gained steam among Senate Democrats—with 12 of the chambers 47 Democrats publicly backing the effort. Half of the dozen supporters are, unsurprisingly, 2020 contenders: Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.).