WASHINGTON — The movement to oust President Trump from office crossed a new threshold Friday, with a majority of House Democrats endorsing an impeachment inquiry – a development that ramps up pressure on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has resisted such a move.

The push in the House to remove Trump has been accelerated by testimony from former special counsel Robert Mueller confirming that the president could be charged with obstruction of justice after he leaves office – prompting more than 20 Democrats to announce support for an inquiry since then.

Those calls have come amid mounting pressure from liberal activists – applied in some cases by Democratic primary challengers who argue that incumbents, including four powerful committee chairmen, have been too reticent in taking on Trump.

As of Friday, 118 out of 235 House Democrats said they support at least opening an impeachment inquiry, according to an analysis by The Washington Post. (Some news organizations using different criteria report the threshold was crossed Thursday.)

Rep. Salud Carbajal of California pushed Democrats past the majority threshold with his announcement Friday. “We cannot ignore this president’s actions, and we cannot let him off the hook because of his title,” he said in a written statement.

Though Pelosi, D-Calif., continues to stress investigations over impeachment, last week she gave a green light for lawmakers to chart their own course while telling reporters that it would not necessarily change her views.


“I’m willing to take whatever heat there is,” she said.

Pelosi refused to answer questions about impeachment during an appearance on Capitol Hill on Thursday.

The speaker’s reluctance about impeachment is based in part on public opinion. A Washington Post-ABC News poll released last month showed 59% of Americans believe the House should not begin impeachment proceedings against Trump, while 37% believe it should – including 61% of Democrats.

Among those newly backing an impeachment inquiry are two prominent House committee chairmen from New York, Rep. Eliot Engel of the Foreign Affairs Committee and Rep. Nita Lowey of the Appropriations Committee. Both face energetic Democratic opponents in next year’s elections.

Engel said Trump’s “repeated abuses have brought American democracy to a perilous crossroads. Following the guidance of the Constitution – which I have sworn to uphold – is the only way to achieve justice.”

In announcing her support for an inquiry, Lowey said in a statement that Mueller’s investigation showed “systemic deception that appears to be second nature for the President and his advisors.”


The number of lawmakers backing an impeachment inquiry has swollen in the wake of Mueller’s congressional testimony last month.

Despite an appearance devoid of blockbuster revelations, many Democrats said his testimony reaffirmed some of the more damaging revelations about Trump in Mueller’s 448-page report on Russian election interference and possible obstruction of his probe by Trump.

Of the Democrats calling for an impeachment inquiry, more than 75 have done so since Mueller made a public statement on May 29 about his findings. The former special counsel said he could neither clear nor accuse Trump of obstructing his probe, leaving room for Congress to make that call.

Rep. Justin Amash, I-Mich., who recently left the Republican Party, has also said he supports beginning impeachment proceedings against Trump.

Interviews with eight of the lawmakers who have publicly backed an impeachment inquiry over the past week showed they are eager to speak out against Trump but loath to breathe hellfire on the party leadership – suggesting the surge of support may not have much immediate impact on Pelosi’s thinking.

Instead, the Democrats have largely cast their announcements as intensely personal decisions that were the product of careful deliberation and close review of Mueller’s report and testimony. Many said they did not want their decisions to be interpreted as criticism of Pelosi or Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., whose panel would lead an impeachment, and none called for an interruption of the six-week recess to return to Washington to launch a formal probe.

Some, in fact, delivered praise for Pelosi while breaking with her more-deliberate approach.

“I think she is phenomenal – you can put that in the paper,” said Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester, D-Del., who said in her statement last week that Congress “must stand up and demand accountability.”

“One of the things that she said is that, for each of us, we have to do what we need to do,” she added. “And I respect her for having that respect for us.”

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