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

Rep. John LewisJohn LewisDebt ceiling fight pits corporate America against Republicans House Democrats unveil legislation to curtail presidential power Michelle Obama looks to mobilize voters for midterms MORE (D-Ga.) called for impeachment proceedings against President TrumpDonald TrumpGraham says he hopes that Trump runs again Trump says Stacey Abrams 'might be better than existing governor' Kemp Executive privilege fight poses hurdles for Trump 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 BidenHaiti prime minister warns inequality will cause migration to continue Pelosi: House must pass 3 major pieces of spending legislation this week Erdoğan says Turkey plans to buy another Russian defense system 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. JohnsonOvernight Defense & National Security — Iron Dome funding clears House Overnight Defense & National Security — Presented by AM General — Defense bill takes center stage Hillicon Valley: Senators want answers about Amazon's biometric data collection | House members release companion bill targeting app stores | Google files to dismiss Ohio lawsuit 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.