A majority of members of the U.S. House of Representatives now support conducting an impeachment inquiry of President Trump, according to Politico’s tabulation on Wednesday evening.
The groundswell of support for impeachment proceedings has been steadily building among Democrats for weeks, but reached the significant threshold of 218 of 435 lawmakers on a day when the White House made public a summary of a call between Trump and Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky showing that Trump requested that his counterpart investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.
Biden’s son Hunter had served on the board of directors of a Ukrainian energy company that had been investigated by the top state prosecutor, a controversial politician widely considered corrupt by the U.S. and its allies. After the investigation ended with no charges, then-Vice President Biden — representing the Obama administration and in concert with other governments in Europe and elsewhere — publicly pressed for the prosecutor’s dismissal. There is nothing in the public record to suggest that Biden was advancing his son’s interests.
While an impeachment inquiry does not require a majority vote, the fact that 217 Democrats and Republican-turned-independent Rep. Justin Amash say they now support it comes as a blow to Trump and could ultimately lead to his impeachment.
Should a majority of House members vote to impeach Trump, the Senate would then hold a trial on the specific articles put forth by the House. In order to remove Trump from office, two-thirds of the Senate would need to vote to convict him. At the moment, given Republican control of the chamber, that scenario seems unlikely.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who announced the start of an impeachment inquiry on Tuesday, reiterated on Wednesday the rationale behind the investigation into Trump’s conduct.
“It is not part of his job to use taxpayer money to shake down other countries for the benefit of his campaign,” she said in a statement. “Either the President does not know the weight of his words or he does not care about ethics or his constitutional responsibilities.”
The final number of House members to throw their support behind an impeachment inquiry is expected to continue to rise. Many of the 235 Democrats in the House remain undecided on the question, and of those who have voiced support for the inquiry, some are full-throated in their belief that Trump needs to be impeached, while others would simply like to investigate his actions further.
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