A growing number of Democrats have raised the prospect of impeaching the President
Some have been explicit in their calls for impeachment, while others have alluded to it
As the backlash to President Donald Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey escalates, Democratic lawmakers are increasingly raising the prospect of impeachment.
Some, such as California Rep. Maxine Waters, have explicitly called for impeaching the President. Others, like Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, have merely mentioned the possibility, with Gabbard saying last month that she was studying the impeachment process.
Impeachment requires the support of a majority of members of the House of Representatives. No Republicans have publicly voiced support for impeaching Trump. CNN’s KFile is, however, keeping a running count of Democratic lawmakers who have talked about impeachment. That count, which includes those who discussed impeachment prior to Comey’s firing, is currently at 26, 24 members of the House, Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal, and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Independent Sen. Angus King of Maine, who caucuses with Democrats, has also said impeachment is possible.
Here’s the list:
California Rep. Maxine Waters: Waters has been talking about impeachment for months, most recently telling MSNBC’s Chris Hayes on Thursday that “The President needs to be impeached.” Waters also suggested in the interview that Trump could be charged with “obstruction of justice” for saying that the FBI’s Russia investigation was a factor in his decision to fire Comey.
RELATED: What is obstruction of justice?
Texas Rep. Al Green: Green told local news station KRIV Tuesday evening that Trump’s firing of Comey would be an impeachable offense if it was done to stop the investigation into alleged ties between Russian and Trump’s 2016 campaign.
“If the President is found to have done this to circumvent this investigation, to thwart to the efforts to get the bottom of this, I think this is going to be an impeachable offense,” Green said. “He’s really treading in some very dangerous waters. This is unusual for this kind of thing to happen in the United States of America.”
California Rep. Jared Huffman: Huffman said at both a town hall this week and on Twitter that impeachment would happen if Democrats had the votes in the Congress.
“Impeachment will happen if handful of Republicans in Congress join Dems to put country above party. Or in 2019 after Dems win the House,” Huffman tweeted at 1:51 a.m. on Friday morning.
Kentucky Rep. John Yarmuth: Yarmuth told Kentucky local news station WHAS11 on Thursday that Democrats were “actually pretty close to considering impeachment.”
Wisconsin Rep. Mark Pocan: Pocan, speaking on local progressive radio and in a call with progressives earlier this week, said if there was an “impeachment clock,” Trump’s firing of Comey would have moved it an hour closer.
Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal: Blumenthal told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Wednesday that the Comey firing could lead to impeachment proceedings.
“It may well produce another United States vs. Nixon on a subpoena that went to United States Supreme Court,” he said. “It may well produce impeachment proceedings, although we’re very far from that possibility.”
New York Rep. Hakeem Jeffries: According to NY1, Jeffries raised the idea at an event this week that high crimes and treason could have been committed. Thursday night, he added on Twitter, “Evidence of Trump’s effort to obstruct justice continues to emerge. Lock HIM up?”
Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard: Gabbard said at a town hall last month, while Comey was still leading the FBI, that the bureau’s investigation into collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign had led her to study the impeachment process.
“On the issue of impeachment, I am doing my homework,” Gabbard said at the Hilo, Hawaii, event. “I am studying more about the impeachment process. I will just say I understand the calls for impeachment, but what I am being cautious about and what I give you food for thought about is that if President Trump is impeached, the problems don’t go away, because then you have a Vice President Pence who becomes President Pence.”
Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison: Ellison said at CNN’s February Democratic National Committee debate that Trump “has already done a number of things which legitimately raise the question of impeachment.”
Texas Rep. Joaquin Castro: In an interview with BuzzFeed News in February, Castro called for Congress to investigate “whether President Trump intentionally exceeded his constitutional authority” with his travel ban, saying that if Trump did, he should be impeached.
Maryland Rep. Jamie Raskin: Raskin was talking about impeaching Trump for violating the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause even before the President was inaugurated.
“It says that no elected official, either member of Congress or the President of the United States, can accept a gift, an emolument or any payment at all from a foreign government,” Raskin said in a January interview with “The Young Turks.” “He just simply refuses to accept that reality. So if he goes into office and he refuses to divest himself, the moment that the first conflict comes up, that’s going to look like an impeachable offense.”
Texas Rep. Shelia Jackson Lee: Jackson Lee first raised the possibility of impeachment in March after President Trump made unfounded claims that he had been wiretapped by the Obama administration.
“If you do not have any proof and you have been saying this for three weeks then you are clearly on the edge of the question of public trust and those actions can be associated with high crimes and misdemeanors for which articles of impeachment can be drawn,” Jackson Lee said, according to the Houston Chronicle.
Lee went further in late March at an event for the National Newspaper Publishers Association.
“This is not a government right now I’m on the route of impeachment,” she said, according to Insight News.
Lee also raised the possibility of impeaching Trump during a commencement address at Texas Southern University this week, according to local Fox26 News in Houston.
California Rep. Nanette Diaz Barragán: Barragán raised the possibility of impeachment at a town hall in her district on May 15.
“Every day there’s something new, the more I smell impeachment,” Barragán said.
Barragán’s office told CNN’s KFile she wasn’t directly calling for impeachment.
California Rep. Ted Lieu: Lieu said on May 16 that Democrats would follow the facts following reports that former FBI Director James Comey wrote in a memo that President Donald Trump asked him to end the investigation of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.
“If the news reports are true, this is obstruction of justice by the President,” Lieu said on KNX radio.
“As an American I hope impeachment does not happen,” Lieu added. “That is never good for a system of government, but we do have to follow the facts and the investigation where it leads. Certainly impeachment is possible. Obstruction of justice was in fact the first article of impeachment during Richard Nixon’s tenure.”
Maine Sen. Angus King: King, an Independent who caucuses with the Democrats, told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on May 16 that the possibility of impeachment was getting closer.
“If indeed the President tried to tell the director of the FBI who worked for him that he should drop an investigation, whether it was Michael Flynn or whether it was some investigation that had nothing to do with Russia or politics or the election, that’s a very serious matter,” King said.
“If these allegations, senator, are true, are we getting closer to the possibility of yet another impeachment process?” Wolf Blitzer asked.
“Reluctantly, Wolf, I have to say yes, simply because obstruction of justice is such a serious offense,” King responded.
Florida Rep. Ted Deutch: After The New York Times reported on May 16 that James Comey kept a memo alleging that President Trump asked him to drop the investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, Deutch tweeted, “Asking FBI to drop an investigation is obstruction of justice. Obstruction of justice is an impeachable offense.”
Florida Rep. Frederica Wilson: On May 16, Wilson responded to the news of the Comey memo by telling CBS Miami that President Trump “doesn’t realize he is on the brink of impeachment. And people will begin to call for him to be impeached.”
Washington Rep. Pramila Jayapal: Jayapal released a statement in response to the May 16 Comey memo news saying, “If true, Donald Trump’s attempt to influence and intimidate the FBI Director James Comey to block an investigation is a textbook definition of obstruction of justice and it would be an impeachable offense.”
New Jersey Rep. Donald Payne Jr.: Payne said in a May 17 statement that after the Comey memo news, “All options—including impeachment—should be on the table for President Trump.”
Massachusetts Rep. Stephen Lynch: Lynch said on May 17 it would be grounds for impeachment if the President attempted to interfere with an FBI investigation into Michael Flynn.
“May be grounds, absolutely,” Lynch said on local public radio when asked about impeachment.
Lynch added if the President interfered with an ongoing investigation “for a corrupt purpose,” then “this would be an impeachable offense.”
Tennessee Rep. Steve Cohen: Cohen said his “belly” wants to go forward with impeachment but his brain is saying wait for more facts.
“My belly says go forward with impeachment, but my brain says wait until… facts are more developed,” according to a local news reporter who interviewed Cohen – which Cohen then retweeted.
New York Rep. Adriano Espaillat: Espaillat retweeted a tweet citing comments from CNN contributor David Gergen, who said, “I think we’re in impeachment territory.”
A spokeswoman for the congressman confirmed he was calling for Trump’s impeachment.
“Rep. Espaillat is calling for Trump’s impeachment. He will be talking about this issue later this evening on the House floor, likely around 6pm,” his spokeswoman said.
Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings: In an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on May 16, Cummings said obstruction of justice by the President would be an impeachable offense.
“CNN is reporting that this memo that was written by the FBI Director James Comey, says, among other things, ‘I hope you can let this go,’” Blitzer said. “The New York Times says the memo also says, ‘I hope you can see your way clear of letting this go, Michael Flynn go, he is a good guy. I hope can you let this go.’ Is that, potentially, impeachable if it is an obstruction of justice?
“I think we have to look into it further, Wolf. But I would think so,” replied Cummings.
Rhode Island Rep. David Cicilline: Cicilline said if the President obstructed justice, it would be grounds for impeachment.
“These are very, very serious allegations,” Cicilline said in an interview with WJAR on May 17. “No one in our country is above the law, including the President of the United States. And if in fact he attempted to impede or prevent an investigation and obstructed justice, that is a basis for removal from office.”
Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren: In an interview with Jezebel, Warren said she would “absolutely” support impeachment if allegations of obstruction of justice against Trump are proven true.
“Let’s be clear: In the past, there has been strong bipartisan agreement that obstruction of justice is an impeachable offense,” she said. “That’s not a Democratic position or a Republican conviction, it is a bipartisan position. And if the facts that are currently alleged are proven, then we should take the next step.”
New York Rep. Jerry Nadler: Nadler tweeted on May 17 that impeachment is “a possibility” if inquiries into Trump prove he obstructed justice.
New York Rep. Yvette Clarke: Clarke tweeted on May 17: “We have to remove @realDonaldTrump from the White House as soon as possible. #Impeach45”