WASHINGTON (WJZ) — A growing number of Maryland lawmakers are coming out in support of official impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump.

Tuesday evening, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced an official impeachment inquiry into the president, CBS News reported.

Trump immediately took to Twitter, calling the investigation “presidential harassment.”

“Such an important day at the United Nations, so much work and so much success, and the Democrats purposely had to ruin and demean it with more breaking news Witch Hunt garbage. So bad for our Country!” he wrote.

Maryland Democratic Congressman John Sarbanes Tuesday called reports that President Donald Trump spoke with Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky seeking dirt about Joe Biden “impeachable conduct,” as the president vowed on Twitter earlier in the day he would release a full transcript of the call.

In a statement, Sarbanes called the reports “a blatant abuse of power” and called for a full investigation.

“By any measure, this is impeachable conduct on the part of the President. Every House committee of relevant jurisdiction must move aggressively to gather the underlying evidence and press forward with our efforts to hold President Trump accountable,” Sarbanes wrote.

Later Tuesday afternoon, the president tweeted he would authorize the full release of an unredacted transcript of the call between him and Zelensky Wednesday.

“You will see it was a very friendly and totally appropriate call. No pressure and, unlike Joe Biden and his son, NO quid pro quo!” Trump tweeted.

Maryland Democrat Rep. Anthony Brown joined the chorus of lawmakers calling for the president’s impeachment.

“It is outrageous that the President would exploit our national security for personal political gain,” Brown tweeted. “Trump putting his own interests above our nation’s is a betrayal of his oath of office and an impeachable act – and warrants his removal from office with all deliberate speed.”

Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger released a statement saying while he has resisted calls for a formal impeachment proceeding, now “we have no choice.”

“This is the most credible abuse of power we have seen from the Administration to date,” he said. “The President admitted that he encouraged a foreign leader to dig up dirt on his political opponent. He has admitted he broke the law in blocking Congressionally-appropriated taxpayer dollars to Ukraine. And he’s engaging in a cover-up by refusing to release the whistleblower complaint as required by the law. Releasing the transcript of the phone call doesn’t change these facts.”

Ruppersberger spoke to WJZ about the official impeachment inquiry.

“He, as president, is sworn to protect our country,” Ruppersberger said. “You don’t call a foreign country and ask them to investigate your possible opponent.”

Sen. Chris Van Hollen also said he supports the House pursuing impeachment.

“I have not come to this decision lightly — and I regret that the President’s actions require these measures. But the American people deserve the truth and confidence in their government, and I support an impeachment inquiry in order to expose the facts and protect our democracy,” he said in a statement.

Minutes before Pelosi announced the impeachment inquiry, Rep. Elijah Cummings also issued a statement supporting it.

“If there is a core lesson President Trump should have learned from the 2016 election, it is this: Pressing a foreign actor to interfere in our national elections is a fundamental corruption of our democracy, an affront to the Constitution, and a grave breach of his oath of office,” Cummings said. “Each member of the House and the Senate must decide whether he or she will stand for the country or cave to this Administration. I pray that each member chooses our country.”

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer echoed concerns about the president’s conduct, saying in a statement the House would carry out its investigation responsibly.

“As the relevant committees continue their investigations under the umbrella of the impeachment inquiry, we will continue to pursue the facts and follow them wherever they lead – including to articles of impeachment,” he said.

Presidential candidate and former congressman John Delaney said in a statement he agreed with Pelosi’s decision to formally pursue impeachment, saying she “has exercised extremely good judgement on this question so far.”

“The President’s behavior, combined with the administration’s refusal to cooperate, leaves her no other choice,” he said. “Our nation can only be as strong as the rules that govern it. My hope is that we come out of these dark times stronger and more united as a country.”

Andy Harris, Maryland’s only Republican congressman, said he does not support Speaker Pelosi’s decision to move forward with an impeachment inquiry.

“This is nothing new,” Harris said. “The bottom line is the Mueller report didn’t quite turn out the way they wanted. There have been dinners of Democrats calling for the President’s impeachment literally from the day he took office, so this is nothing new.”

Ava-joye Burnett

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