Rep. Jim Himes, has become the first member of the state's congressional delegation to call unequivocally for impeachment hearings into the conduct of President Donald Trump.
Himes, a Democrat from Connecticut's 4th District who serves on the House Intelligence Committee, made his call on the floor of the House Monday morning, calling it a moment for "clarity and conviction," and saying he believes the president's behavior has been illegal and unconstitutional.
He joins more than 70 other Democratic House members in supporting impeachment.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi meanwhile has strongly resisted the call in recent months. Speaking on Friday to a crowd of about 1,000 Connecticut Democrats in Hartford, she described an electoral strategy to defeat Trump at the polls in 2020, and deflected brief heckling from the crowd over the question of impeachment.
Himes said in his speech that he doesn't believe impeachment would lead to the president's removal from office before the end of his term, but he thinks it is still the duty of Congress, despite the potential political optics.
"Impeachment, along with the right to declare war, is the most awesome power of the Congress,'' Himes said. "The politics of impeachment are messy and uncertain, and might, in the short run, serve the president’s narrow political interests.''
Himes said his motive is not to pressure Pelosi, but for him, the moment has come to stand up and say what he thinks.
"From the moment of his inauguration, this president has shown contempt for the truth, has attacked our institutions, and has ignored the Constitution he swore to defend," said Himes. "He has refused the oversight which is Congress’ long-established right and duty."
"That we have not slouched closer to autocracy is due to the strength of the democratic safeguards and protections that we have built and defended for two and a half centuries," he said. "Unless we restore respect for the law, respect for truth and respect for common decency, we cannot hope to solve any of our other pressing problems."
He also nodded to his well-established reputation as a political moderate, now joining forces on this issue with the more progressive wing of his party.