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House Democratic leadership member backs impeachment inquiry

Rep. Katherine Clark (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 Mueller’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.

{mosads}”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 McConnell 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 Pelosi (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 Trahan (Mass.), Peter DeFazio (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 Cicilline (D-R.I.), who runs Democrats’ messaging arm, and Reps. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) and Jamie Raskin (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.

Tags Barbara Lee David Cicilline Jamie Raskin Katherine Clark Lori Trahan Mitch McConnell Nancy Pelosi Peter DeFazio Robert Mueller Ted Lieu

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