Democratic Rep. Ted Lieu joined CNN's Wolf Blitzer Wednesday evening to clarify his position on impeachment. "Let me just be very clear. Democrats are not saying impeachment. What I'm saying and what some others are saying is an impeachment inquiry, which is we have to start these investigations to see if we should do impeachment. Those are very different issues," he said. "I think that if Donald Trump continues to cover up and hide information from the American people, it certainly calls for more investigation, because, really, what is he hiding?"
WOLF BLITZER, CNN: Congressman, thanks so much for joining us. Let me get your quick reaction to the breaking news. A federal judge in New York has now sided with Democrats in Congress, refusing to block subpoenas for President Trump's financial records.
Does this ruling support Speaker Pelosi's argument that the president is engaging in a cover-up?
REP. TED LIEU (D-CA): Absolutely. The Trump administration is covering up information and hiding information from Congress and the American people. And it's not just with records related to Donald Trump.
We also want to know why is the Trump administration suing to eliminate health care coverage for people with preexisting conditions? We've been stonewalled on that information. And so to have courts agree with Congress that the administration is covering up records, that's really huge for Congress.
And if Bill Barr is not careful, he's going to dramatically weaken the presidency by having a lot of really bad court rulings go against the president.
BLITZER: This is the second federal judge in three days to rule in favor of House Democrats.
Does that give you confidence that your party's oversight efforts are on the right track?
LIEU: It does. We have amazing House counsel and we have been giving reasonable accommodations to the Trump administration, bending over backward to work with the administration. And they have engaged in maximum obstruction. And that is unprecedented and it's also unconstitutional.
The framers gave three branches and each is a check on the other and never has a president in American history simply stonewalled every single subpoena request.
BLITZER: After that very brief three- or four- or five-minute meeting with the Democratic leadership, the president went into the Rose Garden and said he's not going to work with Democrats on any legislation until these congressional investigations are dropped.
Do you believe that ultimatum will move more Democrats toward the idea of opening formal impeachment procedures against the president?
LIEU: It could. But what it really shows is that the president is a petulant child. And that has serious consequences. Democrats have passed legislation to reduce health care prices. We are working on a big infrastructure bill.
And if the president doesn't want to do this, then he's putting himself and his family over the country. And that is unfortunate. Democrats will keep pushing to try to get infrastructure and health care done.
But the president is simply going to stonewall everything because we're conducting oversight, that's unconstitutional and unprecedented.
BLITZER: We know where you stand on impeachment. You support it.
What will it take to get a majority of the Democratic caucus to agree with you?
LIEU: So, Wolf, let me just be very clear. Democrats are not saying impeachment. What I'm saying and what some others are saying is an impeachment inquiry, which is we have to start these investigations to see if we should do impeachment. Those are very different issues.
I think that if Donald Trump continues to cover up and hide information from the American people, it certainly calls for more investigation, because, really, what is he hiding?
What is he hiding from the people?
BLITZER: So just to be precise, Congressman, if I understand what you're saying, you're in favor of beginning impeachment procedures in the House Judiciary Committee but you're not ready to say you will support impeaching the president?
LIEU: That is correct. Because we need to build a record in these committees. Right now we have interesting things people have said on TV, interesting articles in newspapers. We have a redacted Mueller report. What we need is the full Mueller report, the underlying evidence, so we can look at all of the obstruction of justice cases that Mueller has laid out in his report, from which he has said there is substantial evidence.
And we'll proceed and build this record and then we can decide whether to impeachment or not.
BLITZER: Have you personally been lobbying some of your fellow Democrats, Congressman, who may be on the fence, who aren't yet where you are?
LIEU: So the caucus had a good discussion today. And I have been talking to other Democrats. And we're having discussions as to how do we deal with a president that does not want to move the American family forward, does not want to work with us on health care or prescription drug prices and infrastructure and who is obstructing everything Congress is doing.
So we're having those conversations. And we will continue to have those conversations. And we'll continue winning in court as well.