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Democrats moving closer to starting impeachment proceedings for Trump



It is looking increasingly likely that Democrats will initiate an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, as a growing number of Democrats, including progressives and moderates, indicate their support for the move.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has attempted to quell calls for impeachment among her caucus, accused the president on Wednesday of “ engaging in a cover-up.”

“In plain sight, in the public domain, this president is obstructing justice, and he’s engaged in a cover-up and that could be an impeachable offense,” Pelosi said later on Wednesday at a conference held by the liberal Center for American Progress, adding that she’s willing to move forward with impeachment “if the facts take us there.”

The California Democrat is under mounting pressure from prominent members of her caucus to begin impeachment proceedings, as Trump and his administration work to aggressively thwart at least 20 congressional investigations into a wide range of issues.

More than two dozen Democrats, including moderates and some powerful Pelosi allies, now believe an impeachment investigation is the only way for the House to effectively exercise its oversight responsibilities given Trump’s stonewalling. And they argue that failing to hold the executive branch accountable would undermine the institutions they’re sworn to protect.

Under an impeachment probe, Congress would likely have more leverage in court and more authority to request information and compel witnesses to appear.

House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings told CNN on Wednesday that he’s “ getting there” on supporting an impeachment probe.

Read more: Trump just suffered his 2nd major defeat in the courts as he tries to stonewall Congress

“I think what is happening is that the initial aim was to investigate and then see what we had. The problem is we can’t get any information. The president is blocking us,” Cummings told NPR on Tuesday.

House Budget Chairman John Yarmuth told NPR on Tuesday that “there’s a growing realization in the caucus that impeachment is inevitable. It’s not a question of if but when.”

The Washington Post reported Monday that House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler pushed Pelosi to move forward on impeachment during a Monday night meeting.

Some influential voices on the party’s left flank argue that special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation report supplied Congress with plenty of evidence of the president illegally obstructing justice.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren became the most prominent Democrat and first 2020 presidential candidate to call for impeachment last month. And she explicitly argued that the decision should be based on the facts, rather than a judgment about the politics of the decision. (A majority of Americans oppose opening an impeachment inquiry, according to recent polling.)

“There is no political inconvenience exception to the United States Constitution,” she said. “If any other human being in this country had done what’s documented in the Mueller report, they would be arrested and put in jail.”

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the freshman New York progressive, made a similar argument on Tuesday.

“It is just as politicized a maneuver to not impeach in the face of overwhelming evidence as it is to impeach [without] cause,” she tweeted, adding in another message, “Failure to impeach now is neglect of due process.”

Last weekend, the first — and only — Republican member of Congress, Rep. Justin Amash, announced his support for impeaching Trump.

But several Democratic lawmakers were quick to note that initiating an impeachment investigation doesn’t necessarily mean the House will vote to impeach.

Pelosi and other House leaders insist there are still other oversight tools at their disposal and that impeachment would be deeply divisive and politically dangerous for Democrats. They point to the ongoing investigations being conducted by six House committees, some of which have already seen a few wins in the courts.

However, Pelosi’s recent comments are a substantial change from her March feelings, when she told The Washington Post that she wouldn’t move forward on impeachment without bipartisan support and that Trump simply isn’t “worth it.”

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