United States Representatives Hank Johnson and John Lewis voiced their support in opening impeachment inquiries on President Donald J. Trump, as many consider it will drive fellow Democrats and moderates to rethink their position on the issue.
“The people have a right to know whether they can put their faith and trust in the outcome of the election,” Lewis said. “They have a right to know whether the cornerstone of the democracy was undermined by the people sitting in the White House now. I truly believe the time to begin impeachment proceedings against this president has come,” he said in a stirring speech on the House floor. “To delay or to do otherwise would betray the foundation of our democracy.”
— The Atlanta Voice (@theatlantavoice) September 24, 2019
Meanwhile, Johnson insisted for more investigation until he took a formal position regarding impeachment. In a statement to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Johnson said, “Attempting to coerce a foreign government into digging up dirt on a political opponent, then trying to cover it up by unlawfully refusing to turn over the whistleblower complaint to Congress, crosses a red line.”
Johnson and Lewis are now the 164th and 165th House Democrats to support impeachment.
What is unclear at this time is if the House of Representatives will use inherent contempt powers in order to coerce members of the Trump campaign and the Trump White House to comply with issued subpoenas.
Inherent contempt was the mode employed by Congress to directly enforce contempt rulings under its own constitutional authority until criminal and civil contempt statutes were passed, and it remained in use into the twentieth century. Under inherent contempt proceedings, the House or Senate has its Sergeant-At-Arms, or deputy, take a person into custody for proceedings to be held in Congress.
Although these powers are not directly stated in the Constitution, the Supreme Court has ruled on multiple occasions that they are implicit as an essential legislative power held by Congress.