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Growing list of 150 House members backing some action on Trump impeachment

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By Allan Smith  with NBC News Politics
Image: President Donald Trump briefly attends the United Nations (UN) Clima
President Donald Trump briefly attends the United Nations (UN) Climate Action Summit on Sept. 23, 2019 in New York City.   -   Copyright  Spencer Platt Getty Images

Nearly 150 House Democrats — well over half the 235-member caucus — now back some type of impeachment action in light of President Donald Trump's burgeoning Ukraine scandal.

The fast-expanding list includes 11 lawmakers who have come out in favor of action since reports last week that the president pushed Ukraine to investigate the Biden family.

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Some on this list have called for an impeachment inquiry or hearings, some believe the House Judiciary Committee is already undertaking an inquiry and are supportive of that investigation, while others have gone further and called for drafting articles of impeachment. Lawmakers are using different terms when they talk about the issue.

In addition to the 149 House Democrats backing some type impeachment action, Rep. Justin Amash, a Michigan independent, also favors an impeachment investigation, bringing the total number to 150.

In a Monday night Washington Post op-ed, seven freshman House Democrats called for impeachment hearings in response to the Ukraine scandal, which three sourcestold NBC News may give House Speaker Nancy Pelosi the "cover" she needs to back a formal impeachment proceeding against the president which she has not done to date.

"This is major. It seems to me like it's an inflection point," one source said.

In the op-ed, Reps. Elaine Luria, D-Va., Gil Cisneros, D-Calif., Jason Crow, D-Colo., Chrissy Houlahan, D-Pa., Mikie Sherrill, D-N.J., Elissa Slotkin, D-Mich., and Abigail Spanberger, D-Va., said their experiences in the military, defense and U.S. intelligence agencies helped shape their decision.

"These allegations are stunning, both in the national security threat they pose and the potential corruption they represent," wrote the seven freshmen.

The recent impeachment drive follows days of revelations surrounding Trump's apparent push to have the Ukrainian government investigate former Vice President Joe Biden's son, Hunter Biden, who had business dealings in the country.

On Monday, The Washington Post and other media outlets reported that Trump instructed his chief of staff to place a hold on $400 million in military aid for Ukraine in the days before his scrutinized late July phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Responding to those allegations, White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley said on Monday night that the "allegations are completely false, but because the media wants this story to be true so badly, they'll once again manufacture a frenzy and drive ignorant, fake stories to attack this president."

Trump has already admitted to talking about Biden with Zelensky and, in discussing that conversation with reporters on Monday, tied the military aide to the country's probing of corruption.

"We want to make sure that country is honest. It's very important to talk about corruption," Trump said Monday. "If you don't talk about corruption, why would you give money to a country that you think is corrupt?"

Later in the day, Trump denied any quid pro quo where he pledged to give Ukraine the money in exchange for further probing of the Bidens.

"I put no pressure on them whatsoever," he said. "I could have. I think it would probably, possibly have been ok if I did. But I didn't. I didn't put any pressure on them whatsoever."

The Trump-Zelensky discussion came under sharp scrutiny following a whistleblower complaint by a member of the U.S. intelligence community that media reports said was tied to the call between the two leaders. The administration is refusing to turn that complaint over to Congress.

In a letter to colleagues on Sunday, Pelosi threatened a "new stage of investigation"if the Trump administration and acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire fail to provide the whistleblower complaint when Maguire testifies in front of the House Intelligence Committee on Thursday.

Maguire and Inspector General Atkinson are also set to appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee behind closed doors Thursday afternoon. Pelosi has called an all-caucus meeting for 4 p.m. Tuesday that is expected to cover impeachment.