In a lengthy statement, Beyer cited a list of accusations, from “obstruction of justice” that he said was detailed in special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s report to tax fraud, in justifying his call for an impeachment inquiry.
“Endorsing such a course is not easy, and I do not do so lightly, but I believe that the President has left Congress no other option but to pursue it. When I came to Congress I swore an oath ‘to defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic,’ Beyer said.
He added that Trump has shown “utter contempt for the Constitution from the moment he took office, but we are now faced with evidence of actions that strongly resemble high crimes and misdemeanors.”
Beyer said Congress can do little to investigate potential crimes committed by the president when the administration prevents former White House counsel Donald McGahn and other officials from responding to congressional subpoenas.
The congressman said he would not support impeachment unless it was a bipartisan process. In addition to Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) publicly calling for impeachment, Beyer said he had spoken privately to Republicans who agree.
In recent weeks, Beyer’s office has been flooded by constituents clamoring for him to take this position, he said.
The nonpartisan analysts at Cook Political Report rank Beyer’s congressional district as the most heavily leaning Democratic district in Virginia.
Voters in his district, which is just across the Potomac River from D.C. and includes urban Arlington and Alexandria, preferred Hillary Clinton over Trump in 2016 by a margin of 74 to 21.
Last month Beyer became the first member of Congress to endorse presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind.
Beyer, the owner of car dealerships in Virginia, is co-chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s fundraising efforts.
He served two terms as Virginia’s lieutenant governor in the 1990s, was a major fundraiser for Obama and served as U.S. ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein from 2009 to 2013.
Mike DeBonis contributed to this report.