House Democratic leadership member backs impeachment inquiry

Rep. Katherine ClarkKatherine Marlea ClarkSanders, Warren battle for progressive endorsements Democrats ramp up calls for war powers vote after Iran strike Nearly all Democrats expected to back articles of 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 MuellerSchiff: Trump acquittal in Senate trial would not signal a 'failure' Jeffries blasts Trump for attack on Thunberg at impeachment hearing Live coverage: House Judiciary to vote on impeachment after surprise delay 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 McConnellRepublicans show little enthusiasm for impeachment witness swap Overnight Health Care — Presented by Philip Morris International — CDC, State Department warn against travel to China | Biden says Trump left US unprepared for epidemic | Justices allow Trump 'public charge' rule to move forward Progressive group targeting vulnerable GOP senators on impeachment witnesses 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 PelosiHouse passes bill aimed at bolstering Holocaust education Hillicon Valley — Presented by Philip Morris International — NFL social media accounts hacked | Dem questions border chief over controversial Facebook group | Clinton says Zuckerberg has 'authoritarian' views Meadows: Republicans who break with Trump could face political repercussions 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. Trahan'Minor league cities' need new federal partnership Ethics panel reviewing freshman Democrat over campaign finance complaint House Democrats inch toward majority support for impeachment MORE (Mass.), Peter DeFazioPeter Anthony DeFazioOvernight Energy: Critics question data behind new Trump water rule | Groups seek more time to comment on Trump environmental rollback | EPA under scrutiny over backlog of toxic waste cleanups Critics question data used in rule replacing Obama-era waterway protections Lawmakers to question FAA chief on 737 Max review 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 CicillineHouse lawmakers urge adoption of UN report's recommendations on battling anti-Semitism Hillicon Valley: Biden calls for revoking tech legal shield | DHS chief 'fully expects' Russia to try to interfere in 2020 | Smaller companies testify against Big Tech 'monopoly power' Smaller companies testify against Big Tech's 'monopoly power' MORE (D-R.I.), who runs Democrats’ messaging arm, and Reps. Barbara LeeBarbara Jean LeeThis week: Senate barrels toward showdown on impeachment witnesses The Hill's Morning Report - Trump trial begins with clash over rules House revives agenda after impeachment storm MORE (D-Calif.), Ted LieuTed W. LieuDemocratic lawmaker dismisses GOP lawsuit threat: 'Take your letter and shove it' Democratic lawmaker says Nunes threatened to sue him over criticism Paralysis of nations is empowering cities MORE (D-Calif.) and Jamie RaskinJamin (Jamie) Ben RaskinBiden leads 2020 pack in congressional endorsements House Oversight committee asks DHS for information on family separation Maryland Rep. Raskin endorses Warren ahead of Iowa caucus 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.