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Thursday, July 18, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Pelosi ally, freshmen Dem join calls for Trump impeachment

UPDATED: Thu., June 20, 2019, 11:10 a.m.

In this June 13, 2019 photo, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. (J. Scott Applewhite / associated press)
In this June 13, 2019 photo, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. (J. Scott Applewhite / associated press)
By Laurie Kellman Associated Press

WASHINGTON – Three more Democrats have joined a slowly growing group calling for impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump, including a close ally of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and a Democrat who flipped a Republican district.

Rep. Jan Schakowsky, a congressional veteran, said in a Twitter video that Trump “certainly has committed all kinds of offenses that meet the standard” for a formal charge by the House. Rep. Sean Casten told the Chicago Sun-Times that he wants Congress to use “every tool” to investigate Trump, even if that means paying a political price in the 2020 elections. And California Rep. Tony Cardenas tweeted that he came to the decision after studying special counsel Robert Mueller’s report.

The two Illinois lawmakers spoke out Wednesday evening, shortly after former White House aide Hope Hicks refused to answer House Judiciary Committee questions about Trump during his presidency. The new statements highlight a slowly growing chorus of calls from almost 70 House members for an impeachment inquiry, though Democrats still oppose such a move. And Pelosi has resisted launching official proceedings without broad bipartisan support.

On Wednesday night, Schakowsky left that camp.

“The House of Representatives should begin an impeachment inquiry officially, because President Trump certainly has committed all kinds of offenses that meet the standard of impeachment,” she said in the tweeted video.

Casten on the same day set himself apart from many of the Democrats’ most vulnerable freshmen who helped flip the House from Republican control in 2018.

“I am in favor of initiating an impeachment inquiry,” he told the Chicago Sun-Times in remarks confirmed by a spokeswoman.

All three lawmakers said launching an impeachment inquiry would give the House more legal strength to compel information from a president who has vowed not to cooperate with Democratic investigations.

“We cannot allow Trump to continue to obstruct Congress’s investigation and prevent us from getting to the truth,” Cardenas said in a statement posted on Twitter. “We have come up against a wall. It is time to break down that wall.”

Their ranks are growing slowly – New York Democrat Brian Higgins also called for Trump’s impeachment this week – but it’s likely to take more to push Pelosi and the House toward formal impeachment proceedings.

The investigations and hearings aren’t moving Pelosi or the public toward supporting impeachment. It was far from clear, for example, that Hicks’ closed-door testimony Wednesday revealed anything new.

Also, the political clock is ticking toward 2020, when many Democrats say it will be too late to launch impeachment proceedings.

Pelosi on Wednesday said at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast that she agreed Trump is obstructing justice by his refusal to comply with congressional requests for material. But she added that there shouldn’t be an inquiry until “you’re ready to impeach.”

At the same time, she said a less-formal censure would be letting Trump off too lightly.

“That’s a day at the beach for the president, or at his golf club or wherever he goes,” she said of censure.

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