Two more Democrats within Illinois’ 18-member congressional delegation are now calling for impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump in the U.S. House.
U.S. Reps. Sean Casten, of Downers Grove, and Jan Schakowsky, of Evanston, are among more than 70 House members to stake out that position against the Republican president. They join four other Illinois Democrats who have already come out in favor of starting the impeachment process.
The announcement by Casten, who was elected to his first term in Congress last November, is significant because he represents a swing district in Chicago’s western suburbs that is expected to be targeted heavily by Republicans in 2020.
“What we need to have right now is maximum transparency as to what happened in 2016, who was accountable, make sure those people are held to account because no one is above the law and then go forward with confidence that we have done everything in our power to protect democracy,” Casten told WBEZ Thursday.
The congressman said he laid out his position to Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has not publicly supported opening an impeachment inquiry. But Casten would not say specifically how she responded to him.
“I think you can safely conclude that I would not be having this conversation today if I did not feel it was consistent with what we all would like to do as a caucus and that I’m not working at cross-purposes to our agenda,” he said.
Schakowsky, who is close to Pelosi, announced her backing of impeachment proceedings in a YouTube video released by her congressional office Wednesday evening.
“It is so clear the many, many examples of the president obstructing justice,” she said.
“This is a personal decision on my part. I feel an obligation now to take my belief that Donald Trump needs to be held accountable, that no one is above the law, to the next step,” she said.
No Republicans in Illinois’ congressional delegation have shown support for impeachment. Only one GOP member of Congress, Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., is on record favoring that position.
Here’s where other Illinois Democrats stand on beginning the impeachment process.
In favor of an impeachment inquiry:
U.S. Rep. Sean Casten: “I do not make this decision lightly. I do not relish the idea of pursuing an impeachment inquiry. I understand the serious implications. But when our president displays blatant disregard for the law and undermines the fundamentals of our democratic institutions, it’s … our duty to use all of the tools at our disposal to uncover the whole truth for the American people.”
U.S. Rep. Danny Davis: “I believe it is time and imperative that the United States House of Representatives begin an impeachment inquiry whether the House of Representatives should impeach Donald John Trump, President of the United States of America. To that end I will be requesting that my name be added as a co-sponsor of H. Res. 257. It is my hope that the House will move forward in as unified and non-partisan manner as possible but will not be dissuaded by purely political opposition.”
U.S. Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia: “I have concluded that the House of Representatives must begin a formal impeachment inquiry to fulfill our constitutionally mandated responsibility to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. Key to my decision is the redacted Mueller report which details multiple instances that over 450 federal prosecutors and legal experts have deemed obstruction of justice. President Trump has exacerbated these allegations by stonewalling congressional investigations, impeding our crucial Constitutional duty to exercise oversight over the executive branch.”
U.S. Rep. Michael Quigley (from a tweet): “The president’s unacceptable obstruction and his abuses of power have left Congress only one option to fulfill our Constitutional responsibilities: We must open an impeachment inquiry.”
U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush (from a spokesman): “Congressman Rush believes that President Trump should be impeached. Congress has a responsibility to protect the Constitutional foundation of our government with respect for the laws of this great nation. We must not forget that no one is above the law.”
U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky: “This is a personal decision on my part. I feel an obligation now to take my belief that Donald Trump needs to be held accountable, that no one is above the law, to the next step.”
In favor of continuing current investigations, but not calling for impeachment
U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos: “It’s … clear that in America, nobody is above the law — not even the President of the United States. Congress has important constitutional oversight responsibilities, and we must follow the truth.”
U.S. Rep. Bill Foster (from a spokesman): “President Trump has shown unprecedented disrespect for the rule of law and the American people and it is the constitutional obligation of Congress to hold him accountable. While the Republican majority in the Senate has shown little willingness to perform oversight of the President and his administration, the House is taking its role seriously. Formal impeachment proceedings aren’t yet necessary for the House to continue to fulfill its constitutional duty to investigate this corrupt administration.”
U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly: “The publication of the Mueller report has only strengthened my resolve and proved that the President obstructed justice. I support efforts to open an impeachment investigation but I know we don’t have the votes in the GOP-controlled Senate. We need to keep investigating, keep showing the facts to the American people and ‘impeach’ him at the ballot box in 2020.”
U.S. Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi: “After reviewing the entire Mueller report and many related materials, I believe that the president’s conduct has been deeply troubling, and indeed impeachable, but that the evidence right now won’t sustain a conviction. If we open articles of impeachment without the evidence necessary to build public and Senate support, we’re setting ourselves up for failure and for the president, despite the facts, to treat it as an exoneration. I believe the president’s conduct needs to be investigated and that he needs to be held to account, and that is what I am trying to do on the Intelligence and Oversight Committees.”
U.S. Rep. Daniel Lipinski: “I agree with House leadership that we need to continue our oversight and investigations and I have supported continuing down that path. At this point, I think the best way to remove Trump from office is voting him out in the 2020 election. This may change as the work of House committees continue. But if the House impeached the president now, it could backfire because I believe that he wants to be able to run saying that he was persecuted by the Democratic House but exonerated by the Senate. But if House committee investigations reveal more this could change."
U.S. Rep. Brad Schneider: “Congress must be allowed to complete its investigations. I remain committed to following the facts wherever they lead.”
U.S. Rep. Lauren Underwood: “Impeachment is a process, not a destination, and right now Congress is doing the oversight compelled by Article One of the Constitution. This crucial step can feel frustratingly slow, but it is important that we do it methodically, thoroughly, and within the bounds of the Constitution.”
Dave McKinney covers state politics and government at WBEZ. Follow him @davemckinney.