On Thursday, Florida representative Ted Deutch became the 118th House Democrat to throw his support behind a formal impeachment inquiry against Donald Trump. As Politico reports, that marks an important milestone. More than half of House Democrats have now publicly called for such hearings, which could increase the pressure on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to make them a reality.
At least that’s what pro-impeachment members of Congress are hoping, as Politico reports:
Though Pelosi has given no indication that even a majority of Democrats embracing impeachment proceedings would shift her view, supporters of an inquiry argue that crossing the halfway mark among Democrats will be a symbolic boost that could shift the political dynamic.
Pelosi has been steadfast in her opposition to moving toward an official impeachment inquiry, favoring instead slow, methodical oversight. With a Republican-controlled Senate that wouldn’t vote to remove Trump from office anyway, Pelosi and her allies are working under the assumption that impeachment proceedings would be useless and potentially damaging to vulnerable House Democrats.
But the number of caucus members calling for an inquiry could continue to grow. Politco’s Kyle Cheney writes that there are two key players who could lead to a rush of new impeachment backers — New Mexico representative Ben Ray Luján and Georgia representative John Lewis.
Though there’s no indication he’s changing his tune, Luján’s support for impeachment proceedings could help unlock the backing of a slew of freshman Democrats who Luján helped election in 2016, when he ran Democrats’ campaign arm, pro-impeachment lawmakers say. And Lewis’ support would carry significant sway with members of the Congressional Black Caucus who have remained on the fence so far. Lewis has repeatedly been asked for his opinion on impeachment proceedings but has repeatedly indicated that he’s deferring to Pelosi.
The other wild card that could potentially win more Democrats over to the cause is Trump, a man capable of doing something at any moment that make Democrats want to kick him out of office.