All seven of Washington’s Democrat U.S. House members are now calling for an impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump. U.S. Senator Patty Murray also voiced support for an inquiry.
On Sunday, Reps. Kim Schrier, of Sammamish; Suzan DelBene, of Medina; Derek Kilmer, of Gig Harbor; and Denny Heck, of Olympia, cited corruption, obstruction of justice and failure to protect elections from foreign interference as justifications for an impeachment inquiry, which would be a first step in a lengthy process.
Murray, in a statement, said that as Congress has learned more “about the gravity of the potential threats to our democracy identified in Special Counsel [Robert] Mueller’s report, it has become clear the House should begin proceedings to determine whether the president’s actions necessitate impeachment.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Friday that the House would decide whether to begin impeachment proceedings “when we have a best strongest possible case” and that such a decision “will be made in a timely fashion.” She continued to resist calls from a growing number of House Democrats — 103 out of 235 in the caucus, plus one independent, according to a New York Times count — to begin an impeachment inquiry immediately. A motion to impeach Trump in mid-July was defeated.
The House begins a six-week summer recess Monday with no votes until Sept. 9.
The announcements from Democrat members of the Washington delegation Sunday came after Mueller’s congressional testimony last week.
Kilmer said that testimony amplified evidence laid out in the Mueller report, prompting him to change his position on impeachment. He is most troubled by evidence that president has sought to obstruct justice.
“Obstructing justice and accepting assistance from foreign governments simply cannot be a standard that we accept,” Kilmer said in a statement.
Heck, in a statement, acknowledged the political risks for Democrats in pursuing impeachment, which would be unlikely to result in a conviction by a Republican-controlled Senate, and may enhance Trump’s chance of reelection. “That may be true,” Heck said. “What is truer is that nothing less than the rule of law is at stake.”
Schrier said an impeachment inquiry is now necessary “to get timely access to the information we need for our national security and national conscience.”
Heck and his colleagues cited foreign interference in the 2016 election and the president’s opposition to Congressional efforts to improve election security.
“This strikes at the very core of our democracy and democratic values,” Heck said.
DelBene, in her statement, said it was “a very sad day,” noting that this wasn’t why she sought her office. She said it is the duty of Congress to uphold the Constitution.
“With every act of defiance, [the president] continues to disgrace his office and violate the checks and balances that are the foundation of the Constitution,” she said.
In May, U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal, of Seattle, was the first House member from Washington to call for an impeachment inquiry. Rep. Adam Smith, of Bellevue, joined Jayapal in June, citing obstruction of justice and efforts to undermine Congress. Rep. Rick Larsen, of Everett, added his support earlier this month after Trump’s attacks on four Democrat House members, all women of color.