House Democratic leadership member backs impeachment inquiry

Rep. Katherine ClarkKatherine Marlea ClarkPelosi scrambles to secure quick passage of coronavirus aid Democrat says House vote on trillion aid deal could fall to Friday MA lawmakers press HHS secretary on status of state's protective equipment 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) MuellerCNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout 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 McConnellCoronavirus pushes GOP's Biden-Burisma probe to back burner Struggling states warn coronavirus stimulus falls short Hillicon Valley: Apple rolls out coronavirus screening app, website | Pompeo urged to crack down on coronavirus misinformation from China | Senators push FTC on price gouging | Instacart workers threaten strike 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 PelosiSunday shows preview: Lawmakers, state governors talk coronavirus, stimulus package and resources as pandemic rages on Attacking the Affordable Care Act in the time of COVID-19 DC argues it is shortchanged by coronavirus relief bill 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. TrahanMA lawmakers press HHS secretary on status of state's protective equipment Democratic candidates gear up for a dramatic Super Tuesday MLB, Congress play hardball in fight over minor leagues MORE (Mass.), Peter DeFazioPeter Anthony DeFazioHouse Democrats eyeing much broader Phase 3 stimulus Hillicon Valley: HHS hit by cyberattack amid coronavirus outbreak | Senators urge FCC to shore up internet access for students | Sanders ramps up Facebook ad spending | Dems ask DHS to delay Real ID deadline Top Transportation Dem warns airlines could face financial hit 'worse than 9/11' 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 CicillineLocal news outlets struggle to survive coronavirus fallout The Hill's 12:30 Report: House to vote on .2T stimulus after mad dash to Washington Pelosi rejects calls to shutter Capitol: 'We are the captains of this ship' MORE (D-R.I.), who runs Democrats’ messaging arm, and Reps. Barbara LeeBarbara Jean LeeCBS All Access launches animated 'Tooning Out the News' series Bill banning menthol in cigarettes divides Democrats, with some seeing racial bias Democrats spar with DeVos at hearing, say Trump budget would 'privatize education' MORE (D-Calif.), Ted LieuTed W. LieuClay Aiken podcast looks for political balance Rep. Gosar defends calling coronavirus 'Wuhan virus' after criticism Carson on coronavirus: Task force is not 'sugarcoating' messaging MORE (D-Calif.) and Jamie RaskinJamin (Jamie) Ben Raskin20 House Dems call on Trump to issue two-week, nationwide shelter-in-place order Senators urge Congress to include election funds in coronavirus stimulus Vote at home saves our democracy and saves lives 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.