Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va, said on Thursday that he believes it’s now time to begin an impeachment inquiry, citing possible obstruction of justice outlined in former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report, while also stating that President Donald Trump “has stained the Oval Office with his racism, xenophobia and bigotry.”
Connolly, who represents Northern Virginia’s 11th District, is a member of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, which has clashed repeatedly with the White House over requests for information related to a wide range of investigations. In a statement, Connolly charged that the president “at every opportunity has chosen to disregard the rule of law and our constitution for his own enrichment.”
The Democratic lawmaker also said it is important not to become “desensitized” to the president’s behavior.
“At every moment, whether it was in the aftermath of Charlottesville, or El Paso or Dayton, he has failed to heal our country and call us to our better angels,” he said. “Instead, he has stained the Oval Office with his racism, xenophobia and bigotry.”
He sent out a full statement in a tweet:
I believe the time has come for the House of Representatives to begin an impeachment inquiry into President Donald J. Trump.
— Gerry Connolly (@GerryConnolly) August 8, 2019
Another Virginia Democrat, Rep. Jennifer Wexton, who represents the 10th District, recently announced her support for an impeachment inquiry.
Many other Washington-area Democrats support an impeachment inquiry, including Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., who sits on the House Judiciary Committee, as well as House Oversight. He has said that the House has already effectively begun an “impeachment investigation.”
More than half of House Democrats are now on the record as supporting an impeachment inquiry.
The issue of impeachment was also featured prominently in a court filing made on Wednesday by the House Judiciary Committee, which filed suit to compel the testimony of former White House counsel Don McGahn. The Mueller report states that the president at one point directed that McGahn fire the special counsel, which he declined to do.
“McGahn is the Judiciary Committee’s most important fact witness in its consideration of whether to recommend articles of impeachment and its related investigation of misconduct by the president, including acts of obstruction of justice described in the special counsel’s report,” the filing on behalf of the committee states.
McGahn’s attorney said the president has instructed his client to cooperate with the special counsel, but directed him not to testify to Congress, unless the White House and lawmakers reached an agreement.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, while steadily supporting committee efforts to investigate the president, has resisted call to begin a formal impeachment inquiry. She has said lawmakers will continue to “follow the facts” and see where they go.
Republicans have sharply criticized Democrats, arguing that they are pursing various investigations in an effort to politically damage the president’s re-election chances.