WASHINGTON – Most House Democrats say they support launching impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump, a milestone that adds pressure on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to begin the process of trying to oust the president.
Florida Rep. Ted Deutch's announcement Thursday to back an impeachment inquiry and California Rep. Salud Carbajal's similar pronouncement Friday means that the number of House Democrats supporting the process has risen to at least 118 members, or a majority of the 235-member caucus.
Carbajal, who represents Santa Barbara, and Deutch, who represents parts of South Florida, are among the roughly two dozen Democrats who have joined the impeachment chorus since former special counsel Robert Mueller testified before Congress on July 24 about his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
“If anyone else did these things, they would face legal consequences,” Carbajal said in his impeachment statement Friday. “I’ve read the full Mueller Report' the president knew the rules and he broke them – he cannot be above the law.”
The report, released in April, said Trump might have obstructed justice on 10 separate occasions but did not conclude Trump committed a crime nor did it exonerate him.
The list of 118 members was compiled by numerous media outlets, including CNN, Politico and The Washington Post. It includes the chairs of House committees: Rep. Eliot Engel (Foreign Relations), Rep. Nita Lowey (Appropriations) and Rep. Adam Smith (Armed Services).
The roster does not include Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton of Washington, D.C., who supports impeachment but does not have the power to vote on the floor, or Rep. Justin Amash, the Michigan Republican turned independent who supports impeachment.
No House Republican is on record backing impeachment.
Pelosi has been reluctant to start impeachment proceedings, preferring to continue the investigations various House committees launched into the president's financial records, his business dealings and the evidence supporting Mueller's conclusions.
“To protect our democracy and our Constitution, Democrats in the Congress continue to legislate, investigate and litigate," Pelosi said in a statement released Friday. “In America, no one is above the law. The President will be held accountable.”
She has the backing of Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings, who chairs the House Oversight and Reform Committee investigating the president's finances.
"We are doing our research. We are trying to do our jobs. And there may very well come a time when impeachment is appropriate," he said Saturday during the dedication of a park in his Baltimore district. "I've said many times that one of the lines for me would be when and if the administration disobeys court orders, because I think then we would have no choice."
The House voted last month to kill a measure seeking to impeach Trump – the first vote on such a measure since Democrats took the majority and since the release of Mueller's report.
The 332-95 vote included a majority of Democrats voting along with Republicans to reject the measure – a win for conservatives and the president, who touted the effort's failure on Twitter.
Even if the measure got through the House, the Republican-controlled Senate would be unlikely to take it up. Some Democrats fear that such an outcome would be seized on by Trump as vindication that the effort was meritless and give him a victory heading into the 2020 election.
Voters don't seem too keen on impeachment, either.
A POLITICO/Morning Consult poll immediately after Mueller’s congressional testimony found that 37% of voters said Congress should begin impeachment proceedings, compared with 46% who said it shouldn't and 16% who were undecided.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Trump impeachment: Majority of House Democrats now support inquiry