By Joshua Caplan
Nearly half of House Democrats now support launching impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump after four more lawmakers expressed support for an inquiry over the weekend, according to a count conducted by Politico.
On Sunday, Washington state Democrat Reps. Denny Heck, Kim Schrier, Suzan DelBene and Derek Kilmer came out in favor of the measure. The group’s announcement comes after over 10 Democrats voiced support for impeachment. The handful of lawmakers included Rep. Katherine Clark (D-MA), who serves of the Vice Chair of the House Democrat Caucus, citing former special counsel Robert Mueller’s congressional testimony on Wednesday.
The number of Democrats backing impeachment stands at 107, just 11 lawmakers away from the majority of the House Democrat caucus.
The latest tally House Democrats backing impeachment comes after the chamber’s judiciary panel announced the launch of its so-called “impeachment investigation.” On Friday, the committee asked a judge to allow access to secret grand jury material underlying the Mueller report.
The House Judiciary Committee is also expected to go to court this week to try to enforce a subpoena against former White House counsel Donald McGahn, a key Mueller witness. That suit is expected to challenge the White House’s claim that former White House employees have “absolute immunity” from testifying before Congress.
Appearing Sunday on ABC’s This Week, Judiciary Committee chairman Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) explained his committee is “investigating whether to approve articles of Impeachment before the committee.”
“We have impeachment resolutions before the committee. We are conducting investigations to determine whether we should report those impeachment resolutions to the House or whether we should draft our own and report them to the House,” said the New York Democrat.
“We’re considering those resolutions. we’ll make a determination after we get more evidence as to the president’s crimes that we had from the Mueller report and also from other things, violations of the emoluments clause, his failure to defend the constitution against repeated Russian attacks,” he added. “We’re investigating whether to approve articles of Impeachment before the Committee.”
Despite fresh support to launch impeachment hearings, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) appears unmoved by the efforts.
“No, I’m not trying to run out the clock,” Pelosi told reporters last week.“We will proceed when we have what we need to proceed — not one day sooner.”
“Everybody has the liberty and the luxury to espouse their own position and to criticize me for trying to go down the path in the most determined, positive way,” she added. “Again, their advocacy for impeachment only gives me leverage.”
Moreover, some political observers believe Mueller’s testimony likely took the wind of the of sails regarding impeachment.
“I think the candidates on the stump are being politically realistic; the people back in Washington aren’t. Nancy Pelosi, who is a wintry eyed realist, is having none of it: she thinks impeachment is a fools’ errand and I have to say I agree with her,” said William Galston, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.
“Mueller’s lackluster testimony likely gave Speaker Pelosi the ammunition to withstand calls for impeachment inquiries, or hearings, from the left flank of her party,” said Brown University political science professor Wendy Schiller. “She has always maintained it is a losing political proposition even if the House voted to impeach Trump because the Senate will not vote to convict Trump and remove him from office.”
Earlier this month, the House voted 332-95 to table a resolution launching an impeachment inquiry introduced by Rep. Al Green. (D-TX).
The Associated Press contributed to this report.