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House Dems Near 50 Percent Support for Impeachment Inquiry

Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee Jerry Nadler (D., N.Y.) speaks with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., June 19, 2019. (Aaron P. Bernstein/Reuters)

A group of five Democratic representatives called on leadership to begin an impeachment inquiry against President Trump Tuesday night, bringing the total number of House Democrats in support of impeachment to 116, just two votes short of reaching the 50 percent threshold.

Democratic Representatives Jennifer Wexton of Virginia, Grace Meng and Eliot Engel of New York, Jason Crow of Wisconsin, and Judy Chu of California joined a growing cohort of House Democrats clamoring for an impeachment inquiry in the face of a reluctant leadership wary of the move’s potential electoral consequences for the more moderate members of their caucus.

Engel, a moderate member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, argued that former special counsel Robert Mueller’s testimony last week “provided ample evidence that the president committed obstruction of justice.”

“The president abused the power of his office in an effort to stymie a legitimate investigation into his campaign’s involvement with Russia,” Engel said.

Meng, meanwhile, struck a more cautious tone, presenting the requested impeachment inquiry as an opportunity to “uncover the truth, and to obtain critical supporting evidence like the grand jury materials and witness testimonies.”

Pelosi was unmoved on the question of impeachment following Mueller’s testimony, telling reporters she still preferred to continue the many ongoing oversight investigations into the president, and allow the pending legal challenges against the administration to be resolved, before opening an impeachment inquiry.

Judiciary Committee chairman Jerry Nadler, who has reportedly privately pressured Pelosi to begin impeachment proceedings, conceded that Trump “richly deserves impeachment” following Mueller’s testimony, but questioned whether it was politically pragmatic.

“But that’s not the question,” he told reporters. “The question is, can we develop enough evidence to put before the American people?”

The mounting support for impeachment comes as the first ads, produced by the liberal advocacy group Need to Impeach and featuring Mueller’s testimony to make the case for impeachment, aired across the country.

“As much as this president and his administration attempt to cover up the facts, with this ad we are ensuring that Americans hear the facts directly from Mueller,” Nathaly Arriola, executive director of Need to Impeach, said in a Tuesday statement.

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