House Democratic leadership member backs impeachment inquiry

Rep. Katherine ClarkKatherine Marlea ClarkTen notable Democrats who do not favor impeachment The Hill's Morning Report - Trump searches for backstops amid recession worries Fourth-ranking House Democrat backs Trump impeachment MORE (D-Mass.) on Thursday became the highest-ranking member of House Democratic leadership to endorse an impeachment inquiry a day after former special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerFox's Cavuto roasts Trump over criticism of network Mueller report fades from political conversation Trump calls for probe of Obama book deal MORE's testimony before Congress.

Clark, the House Democratic Caucus vice chair, ranks sixth in the leadership hierarchy.

Like other Democrats who also have endorsed an impeachment inquiry, Clark said that it should be the path forward given the Trump administration's general refusal to cooperate with their investigations.

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"I deeply respect the committee work of House Democrats to hold the President accountable, including hearings, subpoenas and lawsuits. All of our efforts to put the facts before the American people, however, have been met with unprecedented stonewalling and obstruction," Clark said in a statement.

"That is why I believe we need to open an impeachment inquiry that will provide us a more formal way to fully uncover the facts."

But Clark also cited Mueller's congressional testimony, as well as Senate Republicans' efforts to block election security legislation in the hearings' aftermath.

"Revisiting the President’s obstruction of justice during the Special Counsel’s testimony was disturbing. However, the moment that truly stunned me was when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellHillary Clinton: Voter suppression has led to 'crisis in democracy' in the US New York Times authors blame Kavanaugh correction on editing error: 'There was zero intent to mislead' The Hill's Morning Report - What is Trump's next move on Iran? MORE blocked a vote on an election security bill the same day Mr. Mueller warned that Russia interfered in our elections and is continuing to do so," Clark said.

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPence says it's 'vital' for Congress to pass US-Mexico-Canada trade deal The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump heads to California Obama, Bush among those paying tribute to Cokie Roberts: 'A trailblazing figure' MORE (D-Calif.) has long said that a case for an impeachment effort should be strong enough to draw bipartisan support.

Clark suggested that convincing Senate Republicans to come on board is unlikely but argued Democrats should move forward nonetheless.

"An impeachment inquiry is a process, not an outcome, but I fear there is no amount of wrongdoing that we could uncover that would convince Senate Republicans to hold the President accountable. Regardless of the outcome, I believe we have a patriotic duty to uncover the facts for the American people and uphold the rule of law," Clark said.

Clark is the fourth House Democrat to announce support for an impeachment inquiry since Mueller's marathon testimony on Wednesday, following Reps. Lori TrahanLori A. TrahanHouse Democrats inch toward majority support for impeachment Trump bashes Mueller for 'ineptitude,' slams 'sick' Democrats backing impeachment Pelosi denies she's 'trying to run out the clock' on impeachment MORE (Mass.), Peter DeFazioPeter Anthony DeFazioThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump issues Taliban warning at Sept. 11 memorial Overnight Energy: Democrats call for Ross to resign over report he threatened NOAA officials | Commerce denies report | Documents detail plan to decentralize BLM | Lawmakers demand answers on bee-killing pesticide Oregon Democrats push EPA to justify use of pesticide 'highly toxic' to bees MORE (Ore.) and Lisa Blunt Rochester (Del.).

A handful of other lower-ranking members of leadership have also called for an impeachment inquiry, including Rep. David CicillineDavid Nicola CicillineO'Rourke's debate moment reignites gun debate on Sunday shows Sunday shows - Guns dominate after Democratic debate Cicilline: O'Rourke's AR-15 comment 'doesn't help' MORE (D-R.I.), who runs Democrats’ messaging arm, and Reps. Barbara LeeBarbara Jean LeeMarijuana industry donations to lawmakers surge in 2019: analysis Lawmakers urge DNC to name Asian American debate moderator Overnight Health Care: Planned Parenthood to leave federal family planning program absent court action | Democrats demand Trump withdraw rule on transgender health | Cummings, Sanders investigate three drug companies for 'obstructing' probe MORE (D-Calif.), Ted LieuTed W. LieuTed Lieu congratulates first Asian American cast member on 'Saturday Night Live' Ocasio-Cortez renews impeachment call amid probe involving Trump's Scotland property Oversight panel investigating Air Force crew's stop at Trump property in Scotland MORE (D-Calif.) and Jamie RaskinJamin (Jamie) Ben RaskinThis week: Congress returns for first time since mass shootings Trump probes threaten to overshadow Democrats' agenda House Democrats planning to hold hearings regarding Trump's role in hush-money payments: report MORE (D-Md.).

The number of House Democrats supporting an impeachment is nearing 100, according to The Hill's whip list. But it's still less than half of the 235-member caucus.