This article originally appeared on VICE US.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) formally requested articles of impeachment from the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday, erasing any doubts that the House will proceed to a full impeachment vote in the coming weeks.
“Our democracy is what’s at stake. The president leaves us no choice but to act,” she said Thursday morning. “Today, I’m asking our chairman to proceed with articles of impeachment.”
Pelosi’s announcement means Trump will all but certainly become just the third president to be impeached by the House in U.S. history.
“The facts are uncontested. The president abused his power for his own personal political benefit at the expense of our national security by withholding military aid,” Pelosi said. “The president’s actions have seriously violated the Constitution.”
The big question now is exactly what articles of impeachment House Democrats decide to bring forth. The House Judiciary Committee is responsible for drafting those articles, though Pelosi and Democratic leadership will obviously play a key role in that decision. Pelosi made it clear that Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) wouldn’t be the only one involved — her use of “chairmen” signaled that Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) as well as the heads of the House Foreign Affairs and Oversight committees will have a role to play.
There is some internal disagreement within the Democratic caucus about how broad they should go with articles of impeachment. Some — including Nadler — have suggested they should include an obstruction charge pointing back to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
But many Democrats — including Pelosi — have signaled that they want to keep the focus solely on Ukraine.
Roughly a dozen witnesses laid out the story of a president who was hell-bent on forcing a foreign country to interfere in his own reelection campaign by announcing damaging investigations against Trump’s Democratic opponents. Trump and his aides spent months working to push Ukraine to investigate a conspiracy theory that they, not Russia, interfered in the 2016 election — and repeatedly called for Ukraine to announce an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter, who served on the board of a Ukrainian energy company.
That pressure campaign began with withholding a White House meeting that Ukraine’s president wanted badly until Ukraine agreed to go along with Trump’s demands — a move that multiple witnesses described as a clear quid pro quo on the direct orders of the president. And it culminated in the Trump administration withholding military aid from Ukraine, a key geopolitical ally currently fighting a defensive war against Russia. U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland explicitly told Ukrainian officials that they wouldn’t get the aid unless they announces investigations into 2016 and the Bidens.
The House Intelligence Committee released a sweeping, 300-page report Tuesday that documents how Trump attempted to pressure Ukraine to roll out probes against his enemies, including by withholding much-needed military assistance in the country’s brutal war against Russia-backed separatists.
The report also says Trump obstructed the Congressional investigation of his activities by ordering his administration to disregard subpoenas, and raised the question of whether Trump committed the crime of witness intimidation against those who were willing to speak against him.
Cover: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif. speaks during a press conference at the COP25 climate talks summit in Madrid, Monday Dec. 2, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrea Comas)