More than 100 Democratic members of the House on Tuesday asked the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to launch an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct against President Trump.
“The #MeToo movement has arrived, and sexual abuse will not be tolerated, whether it’s by a Hollywood producer, chef of a restaurant, member of Congress, or the president of the United States,” Rep. Lois Frankel, D-Fla., said during a press conference Tuesday. “No man or woman is above the law.”
Frankel, chairwoman of the Democratic Women’s Working Group, said 59 Democrats, mostly women, first signed on to a letter pushing for an investigation into the allegations against Trump. But that number quickly grew to more than 100 Democrats after their male colleagues joined in.
“For too long, accountability has not been the priority, and bad behavior has gone unchecked. For too long we have accepted cop outs like ‘locker room talk.’ For too long, courageous voices have fallen upon deaf ears, and now that time is over,” said Rep. Brenda Lawrence, D-Mich. “I’m sorry, Mr. President, you do not live under a different set of rules.”
The Democratic lawmakers did not say what the end goal of an investigation would be, but Frankel and Lawrence said they want to expose the truth, although the Republican-led committee is unlikely to take up the demand.
"I’m a firm advocate of accountability, and that is what we’re struggling with now in Congress. But you can't get there until you get to the truth, and the American people, with denials and accusations, they deserve to have a thorough investigation that will reveal the facts," said Lawrence, vice-chairwoman of the Democratic Women's Working Group.
When asked whether sexual misconduct could be an impeachable offense, given the fact that the alleged incidents occurred before Trump was elected, Lawrence pointed to the impeachment of former President Bill Clinton, although Clinton was impeached not for sexual misconduct, but for lying about his actions under oath.
"History has shown us that we impeached a president for inappropriate sexual behavior in the past," she said. "I would say history answers that question."
Sixteen women have accused the president of sexual misconduct, including groping, inappropriate touching, and forced kissing. The alleged incidents occurred before Trump was elected president.
The women spoke publicly about their allegations against Trump during the 2016 campaign, but some have come forward to share their stories once again amid the rise of the #MeToo movement.
The White House has rebuked the allegations against Trump, and the president accused the women of fabricating stories on Tuesday morning, tweeting he has never met his accusers before.