Sen. Dick Durbin, a Democrat from Illinois, called for a formal impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump on Tuesday.
As Senate Minority Whip, Durbin is the second highest-ranking Democrat in the U.S. Senate. He joins more than 150 members of the House of Representatives, where the proceedings would be initiated, in calling for such an inquiry.
Durbin's support for an impeachment inquiry came after Trump confirmed in remarks to reporters on Tuesday that he ordered staff to withhold $400 million in aid to Ukraine one week before a phone call in which he asked the country's leader to investigate the family of former Vice President Joe Biden, seeking to oppose Trump in the upcoming presidential election.
Trump's "admission that he solicited negative info from the Pres. of Ukraine concerning his potential opponent, Joe Biden, while withholding $250M in US security aid for Ukraine is beneath the dignity of any President & by any reasonable legal standard merits an impeachment inquiry," Durbin tweeted.
The allegations surrounding Trump's order on the aid and subsequent call with Ukrainian President Voldymyr Zelenskiy in July were the center of a whistleblower complaint submitted to the inspector general. The inspector general forwarded the complaint to the director of national intelligence and informed Congressional intelligence committees of its existence.
Rep. Adam Schiff, a Democrat from California who chairs the House intelligence committee, said last week that the Department of Justice, and possible the White House, were blocking the acting director of national intelligence from sharing the whistleblower complaint with Congress.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has resisted calls for impeachment proceedings for months, but huddled with the Democratic caucus in a closed-door meeting Tuesday afternoon as calls for impeachment continued to grow.
"Because the White House refuses to respond to Congressional subpoenas, I feel a formal impeachment inquiry is the only way to pursue this critical investigation, which I believe will ultimately be tested in the courts," Durbin said Tuesday.
"The refusal of the President and Attorney General to release the whistleblower report as required by law has also convinced me that an impeachment inquiry is the only course we can follow under our Constitution to make certain the American people know the facts," he added.
A majority of Democrats in Illinois' Congressional delegation have issued a call for impeachment proceedings in recent months.
Reps. Bill Foster, Raja Krishnamoorthi, Brad Schneider and Lauren Underwood all voiced their support for an impeachment inquiry last month.
They join fellow Illinois Democrats Reps. Sean Casten, Jan Schakowsky, Bobby Rush, Robin Kelly, Danny Davis, Jesus "Chuy" Garcia and Mike Quigley in calling for or supporting an impeachment investigation in some form.
Rep. Rush issued a statement Tuesday evening saying, "the President’s recent admission that he attempted to persuade and intimidate a foreign nation into providing dirt on a political opponent is a clear violation of the law and, at the same time, raises severe national security concerns that surpass the threshold for impeachable conduct. It is also critical that we receive a full, unredacted copy of the alarming accusations put forth in the whistleblower complaint, as required by law.”
Just two Democrats from Illinois' delegation - Reps. Dan Lipinski and Cheri Bustos - have said they don't support an impeachment inquiry yet, and none of Illinois' five House Republicans have said they would back one in any form.