Lewis: 'The time to begin impeachment proceedings against this president has come'

Rep. John LewisJohn LewisTrump to pay respects to Ginsburg at Supreme Court Democrats urge Biden to resist filibuster, court-packing calls Rep. Bill Pascrell named chair of House oversight panel MORE (D-Ga.) called for impeachment proceedings against President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden on Trump's refusal to commit to peaceful transfer of power: 'What country are we in?' Romney: 'Unthinkable and unacceptable' to not commit to peaceful transition of power Two Louisville police officers shot amid Breonna Taylor grand jury protests MORE on the House floor Tuesday.

“We cannot delay. We must not wait. Now is the time to act. I have been patient while we tried every other path and used every other tool. We will never find the truth unless we use the power given to the House of Representatives and the House alone,” Lewis said.

Lewis, a longtime civil rights activist, is one of the most senior House Democrats to call for impeachment proceedings.

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"I truly believe the time to begin impeachment proceedings against this president has come. To delay or to do otherwise would betray the foundation of our democracy.”

The number of House Democrats supporting an impeachment inquiry has grown steadily in recent months, but allegations that Trump threatened to make military aid conditional on the Ukrainian government investigating former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden on Trump's refusal to commit to peaceful transfer of power: 'What country are we in?' Democratic groups using Bloomberg money to launch M in Spanish language ads in Florida Harris faces pivotal moment with Supreme Court battle MORE’s son Hunter have led to a flood of calls for an inquiry even among Democrats in swing districts.

“Today I come with a heavy heart deeply concerned about the future of our democracy, and I’m not alone,” Lewis said, adding he had spoken to constituents who “truly believe that our nation is descending into darkness.”

“Every turn, this administration demonstrates complete disdain and disregard for ethics, for the law and for the Constitution,” Lewis said, accusing the Trump administration of stonewalling various House investigations.

“The people have a right to inquire, they have a right to know ... whether they can put their faith and trust in the outcome of our elections ... whether the cornerstone of our democracy was undermined by people sitting in the White House today ... whether the president is using his office to line his pockets,” he said.

Lewis is the second Georgia Democrat to call for impeachment, following Rep. Hank JohnsonHenry (Hank) C. JohnsonFive takeaways as panel grills tech CEOs Lawmakers, public bid farewell to John Lewis Johnson presses Barr on reducing Roger Stone's recommended sentence MORE, who voiced support earlier Tuesday after remaining one of the lone holdouts among Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee.

"Attempting to coerce a foreign government into digging up dirt on a political opponent, then trying to cover it up by unlawfully refusing to turn over the whistleblower complaint to Congress, crosses a red line," Johnson said in a statement Tuesday.