Wednesday, September 25, 2019 7:08 am
Nancy Pelosi, the leader of the Democrats in the House, on Tuesday announced a formal impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump in the Congress.
The announcement marks the most direct step taken by the House Democratic leader to embrace impeachment proceedings and is a significant escalation in the fight between House Democrats and the President.
“The actions of the Trump presidency 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.
“Therefore, today, I am announcing the House of Representatives moving forward with an official impeachment inquiry,” Pelosi said at a news conference.
The House speaker has long pushed to keep her caucus away from the politically divisive issue and is signaling that she’s responding to the seismic shift among Democratic members, following Trump’s admission of discussing Vice President Joe Biden and his son in his phone call with the Ukrainian President.
Dozens of House Democrats — many from moderate or Trump-won districts — have announced their support for an impeachment inquiry over the past 48 hours.
In advance of that statement, Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer also announced plans to vote on a resolution of disapproval on Wednesday for allegations “that the President of the United States sought to enlist a foreign government to interfere in our democratic process by investigating one of his political rivals — and may have used the withholding of Congressionally-appropriated foreign assistance days earlier as intimidation.”
Their statement did not mention impeachment.
Pelosi consulted Tuesday afternoon with the six House Democratic leaders to discuss their presentation to the caucus later in the day, Democratic sources familiar with the issue say.
In that closed-door meeting before her public announcement, Pelosi said the six chairmen will continue to investigate under a powerful new umbrella of an impeachment inquiry.
The announcement, according to Aljazeera, came amid reports that Trump may have abused his presidential powers and sought help from a foreign government to undermine former Vice President Joe Biden, the current Democratic frontrunner, and help his own re-election.
“In a summer phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky Trump asked for help investigating Biden, according to a White House-released summary of the call. In the days before the call, Trump ordered advisers to freeze $400m in military aid for Ukraine – prompting speculation that he was holding out the money as leverage for information on Biden. Trump has denied that charge but acknowledged he blocked the funds, later released.
The Trump-Ukraine phone call is part of the whistle-blower’s complaint, though the administration has blocked Congress from getting other details of the report, citing presidential privilege. Trump authorised the release of a summary of the call.
“You will see it was a very friendly and totally appropriate call,” Trump said. He blasted the inquiry on Tuesday as “Witch Hunt garbage”.