House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced the House will open a formal impeachment inquiry of President Trump, arguing it's the only way to keep the American republic intact.
“This week, the president has admitted to asking the president of Ukraine to take actions that would benefit him politically,” Pelosi said late Tuesday, addressing the press without taking questions. “The actions of the Trump presidency have revealed the dishonorable fact of the president’s betrayal of his oath of office, betrayal of our national security, and betrayal of the integrity of our elections.”
“The president must be held accountable. Nobody is above the law,” Pelosi continued.
Pelosi said she would direct six House committees to “proceed with their investigations under that umbrella of impeachment inquiry.”
“I can say with authority the Trump administration's actions undermine our national security and our intelligence,” Pelosi added.
The move comes after revelations that a whistleblower reported concerns to the intelligence community’s inspector general about Trump’s interactions with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
It later came to light that Trump, in a July phone call, asked Zelensky to launch a corruption investigation of former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter, who has done business in the Ukraine. Trump also reportedly withheld nearly $400 million in aid to Ukraine, though he denied that he used the aid as leverage to encourage the investigation.
Early Tuesday afternoon, while speaking with Atlantic editor Jeffrey Goldberg at a political conference, Pelosi seemed to justify Democrats’ decision to open an inquiry into impeaching Trump. She referred to the allegations against him as “most understandable to the public,” alluding to lawmakers’ torturous, ongoing litigation of allegations that the Trump campaign solicited help from the Russian government to get Trump elected in 2016.
As of 5:15 p.m. on Tuesday, 179 House Democrats said they support impeaching Trump –– a significant spike from Friday, and a figure that represents over two-thirds of House Democrats.
But Democrats need 218 members to vote on articles of impeachment in order for the proceedings to move to the Senate. If the House votes to impeach Trump, it’s the Senate’s job to hold a trial that’s overseen by the chief justice of the Supreme Court, John Roberts.
After Pelosi’s announcement, Trump, as he is wont to do, chimed in on Twitter.
“Such an important day at the United Nations, so much work and so much success, and the Democrats purposely had to ruin and demean it with more breaking news Witch Hunt garbage. So bad for our Country!” he wrote.
He then added: “PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT!”
Cover: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi heads to a meeting with her caucus on Capitol Hill in Washington on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)