"I didn’t run for Congress to impeach the president – any president," Casten - who flipped the suburban 6th District to Democratic control for the first time in decades last fall - said in a statement Wednesday, adding that he ran in part "because I felt the people of my district deserved transparency from their elected representative."
"That’s why, after much thought and careful deliberation, I support opening an impeachment inquiry into the president of the United States," Casten continued. "I do not make this decision lightly. I do not relish the idea of pursuing an impeachment inquiry. I understand the serious implications. But when our president displays blatant disregard for the law and undermines the fundamentals of our democratic institutions, it’s in our duty to use all of the tools at our disposal to uncover the whole truth for the American people.
Casten's decision is significant in that he is just the third Democrat in a district that flipped in 2018 to publicly support an impeachment inquiry, after New Jersey Rep. Tom Malinowski and California Rep. Katie Porter. Casten won his mostly DuPage County district by roughly seven points in November and already has at least one 2020 opponent in former Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti.
For her part, Schakowsky said in a video posted to YouTube Tuesday that she believed the House should begin an impeachment inquiry "because President Trump certainly has committed all kinds of offenses that meet the standard of impeachment, high crimes and misdemeanors."
"I have felt really from day one from the time that Donald Trump raised his hand and took the oath of office that he had already violated the emoluments clause," Schakowsky said, referring to a provision of the U.S. Constitution that prohibits someone holding public office from receiving gifts or payments from a foreign entity.
Schakowsky said after reading the report from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, "it is so clear the many, many examples of the president obstructing justice."
"Instituting the impeachment inquiry will actually enable us to get more information, more documents, have the force of the Constitution behind us to get even more evidence of the president's deserving to be impeached," added Schakowsky, who has represented the safely Democratic 9th District in Chicago's north suburbs since 1999, taking a more forceful approach than Casten.
Schakowsky's support for an impeachment inquiry is significant in its own way, as she holds the position of senior chief deputy whip in House Democratic leadership. Her stance remains at odds with Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has repeatedly said she plans to focus on the ongoing congressional investigations into Trump, before supporting an impeachment inquiry.
But that doesn't mean Casten and Schakowsky are alone. At least 71 Democrats and one Republican now support an impeachment inquiry, according to NPR, including five other Democrats in Illinois.
Casten and Schakowsky join Reps. Bobby Rush, Robin Kelly, Danny Davis, Jesus "Chuy" Garcia and Mike Quigley in calling for an impeachment inquiry in some manner. Six other Illinois Democrats have said they support current investigations, but not impeachment, while Illinois' five Republican members of the House do not support an impeachment inquiry.