Florida Democrat Ted Deutch has joined the effort to impeach Donald Trump, which he says has “already begun.” The senior member of the House Judiciary Committee wrote an op-ed for the Sun Sentinel in which he says that the committee’s investigation, which began in March, is essentially an impeachment inquiry. He added that the “damning conclusions” in special counsel Robert Mueller’s report only solidify the need for examining the president’s “misconduct.”
“Sorry, Mr. President, the question is no longer whether the House should vote to proceed with a formal impeachment inquiry. The inquiry has already begun,” he wrote.
Deutch said that despite what Trump has said, the Mueller report doesn’t exonerate the president and that impeachment should be off the table. He added that the House of Representatives has authority to impeach him and “the Judiciary Committee may refer articles of impeachment to the whole House for a vote at any time.”
Deutch warned that the president can be impeached at any point.
“No additional step is required. No magic words need to be uttered on the House floor. No vote to authorize an impeachment inquiry is necessary,” he said.
The 5-term congressman also said that the Trump Administration has ignored congressional subpoenas and has put pressure on witnesses, claiming immunity and executive privilege to avoid facing the inquiry.
“As we told the court, we already have the power. We don’t need a vote. We need President Trump to stop obstructing,” Deutch wrote.
Deutch called for Congress to exercise its power to look into presidential misconduct and to force witnesses to appear in court as part of its ongoing investigation.
“We don’t need to launch an impeachment inquiry. It has been under way since March,” he concluded.
NEW: Rep. Ted Deutch became the 23rd lawmaker to call for an impeachment inquiry since Mueller testified — and with him, a majority of House Democrats now say they'd vote to take that step.https://t.co/wO3oOmt5Hq
— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) August 1, 2019
As of Thursday, over half of House Democrats have said that they will vote to launch impeachment proceedings against the president, the first time the balance has shifted in favor of the inquiry since talks began. According to Politico, Eliot Engel, a Representative from New York, announced that he supported the move, saying that the president’s “abuses” have harmed the country and Democracy. Along with Deutch’s announcement, there are now 118 out of 235 voting members who support impeachment.
This count doesn’t include the Democrats from Washington D.C. and U.S. territories, who don’t get a vote in the measure.
Support for impeachment has grown over the past weeks as Mueller’s report was more fully examined recently when he spoke to a committee, and after the president attacked black lawmakers like Maryland Representative Elijah Cummings.