House Democratic leadership member backs impeachment inquiry

Rep. Katherine ClarkKatherine Marlea ClarkThe Hill's Morning Report - Fallout from day one of Trump impeachment hearing 'Squad' members recruit Raskin to run for Oversight gavel House passes third bill aimed at preventing foreign election interference 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 MuellerHouse impeachment hearings: The witch hunt continues Speier says impeachment inquiry shows 'very strong case of bribery' by Trump Gowdy: I '100 percent' still believe public congressional hearings are 'a circus' 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.

ADVERTISEMENT

"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 McConnellOvernight Health Care: Fireworks on health care expected at Dem debate | Trump FDA pick dodges on vaping ban | Trump to host meeting on youth vaping Friday | AMA calls for immediate vaping ban GOP senator blocks vote on House-passed Violence Against Women Act On The Money: Senate scraps plan to force second shutdown vote | Trump tax breaks for low-income neighborhoods draw scrutiny | McConnell rips House Dems for holding up trade deal 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 PelosiKlobuchar shuts down idea a woman can't beat Trump: 'Pelosi does it every day' Budowsky: Trump destroying GOP in 2018, '19, '20 On The Money: Senate scraps plan to force second shutdown vote | Trump tax breaks for low-income neighborhoods draw scrutiny | McConnell rips House Dems for holding up trade deal 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. TrahanEthics panel reviewing freshman Democrat over campaign finance complaint House Democrats inch toward majority support for impeachment Trump bashes Mueller for 'ineptitude,' slams 'sick' Democrats backing impeachment MORE (Mass.), Peter DeFazioPeter Anthony DeFazioThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Pelosi accuses Trump of 'bribery' in Ukraine dealings Democratic chairman presses Transportation secretary over transparency in Boeing 737 Max probe Democratic lawmaker asks for probe of reports Chao favored Kentucky officials 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 CicillineHillicon Valley: Federal inquiry opened into Google health data deal | Facebook reports millions of post takedowns | Microsoft shakes up privacy debate | Disney plus tops 10M sign-ups in first day Top antitrust Dem presses DOJ, FTC on Google's Fitbit acquisition Hillicon Valley: California AG reveals Facebook investigation | McConnell criticizes Twitter's political ad ban | Lawmakers raise concerns over Google takeover of Fitbit | Dem pushes FCC to secure 5G networks MORE (D-R.I.), who runs Democrats’ messaging arm, and Reps. Barbara LeeBarbara Jean LeeHouse to hold markup Wednesday on marijuana decriminalization bill US must lead the charge on global reproductive rights — not stand in the way Congress should lift the ban on medical cannabis access for military veterans MORE (D-Calif.), Ted LieuTed W. LieuWyden urges FCC to secure 5G networks against cyber threats Democrat hits White House spokeswoman after Trump appointee changes testimony PETA asks DOJ to stop conducting training that harms animals MORE (D-Calif.) and Jamie RaskinJamin (Jamie) Ben RaskinTrump attacks Pence aide who called Ukraine call 'inappropriate' Budget official says he didn't know why military aid was delayed: report Brindisi, Lamb recommended for Armed Services, Transportation Committees 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.