At the same time, interviews with more than a dozen Democratic lawmakers this weekend made clear that they believed the latest allegations had the potential to be singularly incriminating, with the potential to advance the impeachment drive just as it appeared to be losing steam. Not only do the allegations suggest that Mr. Trump was using the power of his office to extract political gains from a foreign power, they argued, but his administration is actively trying once again to prevent Congress from finding out what happened.
“I don’t want to do any more to contribute to the divisiveness in the country, but my biggest responsibility as an elected official is to protect our national security and Constitution,” said Representative Debbie Dingell of Michigan, adding that it is “becoming more and more difficult” for Democrats to avoid an all-out impeachment inquiry.
Several first-term lawmakers who had opposed impeachment conferred privately over the weekend to discuss announcing support for an inquiry, potentially jointly, after a hearing scheduled for Thursday with the acting national intelligence director, according to Democratic officials familiar with the conversations. A handful of them declined to speak on the record over the weekend, with some still reluctant to go public and others looking for cues from Ms. Pelosi and their freshman colleagues.
Representative Tom Malinowski, a New Jersey freshman who has supported an inquiry, said the fresh revelations made it clear that Congress must move more decisively.
“There are lines being crossed right now that I fear will be erased if the House does not take strong action to assert them, to defend them,” he said in an interview. “If all we do is leave it up to the American people to get rid of him, we have not upheld the rule of law, we have not set a precedent that this behavior is utterly out of bounds.”
The Intelligence Committee chairman, Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, said Sunday morning that the accumulating evidence of wrongdoing, and of a presidential cover-up unfolding in real time, left the House with few other options. Mr. Schiff spoke with Ms. Pelosi before making his remarks to coordinate their statements, two people familiar with their conversation said, a sign that the speaker may be more comfortable moving toward a direct discussion of impeachment.
“I have been very reluctant to go down the path of impeachment,” Mr. Schiff said on CNN. “But if the president is essentially withholding military aid at the same time he is trying to browbeat a foreign leader into doing something illicit, providing dirt on his opponent during a presidential campaign, then that may be the only remedy that is coequal to the evil that that conduct represents.”