The majority of Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee now publicly support opening an impeachment inquiry, according to a review of recent statements by the committee’s 24 Democrats.
Rep. Eric Swalwell’s embracement of calls for an impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump on Thursday morning made him the 13th member of the panel to support such a move. It’s a significant milestone for the committee because it has the power to open and lead impeachment proceedings, and its members have been in the vanguard of Congress’ growing confrontation with the White House over access to former special counsel Robert Mueller’s evidence.
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Swalwell cited Trump’s comments, aired Wednesday, suggesting he’d be willing to accept opposition research from a foreign country about his presidential rivals. “I think I’d take it,” Trump said told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos.
Those comments brought on the latest storm of outrage on Capitol Hill, where Democrats roundly criticized the president’s comments. Speaker Nancy Pelosi described it as evidence that he “doesn’t know right from wrong.”
“It’s so against any sense of decency,” Pelosi said.
Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) has not publicly embraced an impeachment inquiry but has advocated at least twice in private meetings with senior Democrats that opening such an inquiry would strengthen Congress’ hands in upcoming court battles.
But the movement of the majority of Democrats on his committee in favor of an impeachment inquiry underscores the squeeze he’s facing, as Pelosi and other Democratic leaders resist pressure to launch impeachment proceedings. Pelosi said earlier this week that the Democratic Caucus is “not even close” to taking that step.
Democrats who have backed the start of impeachment proceedings on the Judiciary Committee include: Swalwell and Reps. Steve Cohen, David Cicilline, Pramila Jayapal, Joe Neguse, Mary Gay Scanlon, Madeleine Dean, Jamie Raskin, Ted Lieu, Veronica Escobar, Val Demings, Cedric Richmond and Greg Stanton.