SEATTLE – U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) has joined a growing chorus of Democrats seeking to launch a formal impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.
Jayapal reiterated her call after Special Counsel Robert Mueller spoke publicly for the first time Wednesday about his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, possible collusion between the Russians and Trump’s campaign, and whether President Trump attempted to obstruct justice as the investigation unfolded.
While Mueller said his investigation could not find sufficient evidence to prove whether President Trump committed a crime, he suggested that Congress would be the appropriate venue to hold a sitting president accountable for wrongdoing.
Jayapal and other Democrats have seized on Mueller’s remarks and the findings in his report, with Rep. Jayapal, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, pressing her colleagues to take their investigation into the president a step further.
“I know that there are about 40 members of the House who have called for an impeachment inquiry, which is what I have called for,” Jayapal told Q13 News on Wednesday before a town hall event at the University of Washington. “There is a difference between an inquiry and an impeachment vote. What I’m saying is let’s open formal impeachment inquiry proceedings so we can make sure we’re actually launching a process where we get the facts, we follow the facts, and we see where they take us.”
Other notable House Democrats calling for an impeachment inquiry include Rep. Ted Lieu of California, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, Rep. Maxine Waters of California, and more than 30 others.
Still, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been reluctant to get behind the effort.
Also at issue after Mueller’s remarks on Wednesday was whether he would testify before the House Judiciary Committee if called upon. Mueller suggested that he had no further comments to give on the investigation, beyond his brief statement and the 400-page report itself.
"The report is my testimony," Mueller said.
Asked Wednesday whether she thought Mueller would testify if subpoenaed, Rep. Jayapal said she believes he would, calling him an “honorable man.”
“This is a former Marine, and he’s not going to be working for the Department of Justice anymore, so the White House really has no sway over him at that point," she said.