- Ms. Pelosi said Mr. Trump had committed violations of the law and described his performance as a violation of his constitutional responsibilities.
- The impeachment inquiry has broad support in the Democratic-controlled House, but it is unlikely the Republican-controlled Senate will vote to convict if articles of impeachment are approved.
- The Wall Street Journal quoted an unnamed source saying that Mr. Trump had asked Zelensky nearly eight times to work with Giuliani to investigate Biden's son.
The Democratic Party, which holds a majority in the US House of Representatives, has begun official impeachment investigations into President Trump, suggesting that he has asked Ukraine for political help. Speaking Tuesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, “this week the president has admitted to asking the president of Ukraine to take actions which would benefit him politically. The actions of the Trump presidency revealed dishonorable fact [sic.] of the president’s betrayal of his Oath of Office, betrayal of our national security, and betrayal of the integrity of our national elections.”
Earlier, President Trump ordered the text of his controversial phone conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to be declassified and released. Ms. Pelosi said Mr. Trump had committed violations of the law and described his performance as a violation of his constitutional responsibilities. “Therefore, today I’m announcing the House of Representatives is moving forward with an official impeachment inquiry. I’m directing our six committees to proceed with their investigation under that umbrella of impeachment inquiry. The president must be held accountable. No one is above the law.”
The decision comes amid calls from the Democratic Party to impeach the president. Previously, after publishing the results of investigations into alleged Russian interference in the election, Ms. Pelosi resisted requests for his impeachment. In response to Ms. Pelosi’s decision, Mr. Trump said, “our country’s doing the best it’s ever done. They’re going to lose the election, they say it’s a positive for me.”
Mr. Trump said that the process of impeachment is bad for the country. Former Vice President Joe Biden said earlier on Tuesday that the impeachment process should continue unless the US president cooperates with congressional investigations into a dialogue with the Ukrainian leader.
The impeachment inquiry has broad support in the Democratic-controlled House, but it is unlikely the Republican-controlled Senate will vote to convict if articles of impeachment are approved. Trump tweeted Tuesday that the text of the conversation will be fully released on Wednesday.
Mr. Trump had previously told reporters that his phone call with Mr. Zelensky on July 6 was “to congratulate” him. He insisted he had done nothing wrong. Mr. Trump says he is cautious in his talks with leaders of other countries.
In American history, two presidents have been impeached, but none have been removed. President Richard Nixon resigned from office in 1974 in the aftermath of the Watergate scandal.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) responded, “Speaker Pelosi’s much-publicized efforts to restrain her far-left conference have finally crumbled. House Democrats cannot help themselves. Instead of working together across party lines on legislation to help American families and strengthen our nation, they will descend even deeper into their obsession with re-litigating 2016.”
Mr. Trump reportedly phoned Mr. Zelensky and asked him to investigate Joe Biden, and his son Hunter, who served on the leadership of a Ukrainian gas company. He is also alleged to have asked his Ukrainian counterpart to work with his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, in doing so. Mr. Trump has denied everything.
The Wall Street Journal quoted an unnamed source saying that Mr. Trump had asked Zelensky nearly eight times to work with Giuliani to investigate Biden’s son, but made no pledge in return. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), Chairman of the US House of Representatives Intelligence Committee, said Mr. Trump had “stepped on a path of no return.” Mr. Schiff previously opposed Mr. Trump’s impeachment.
Earlier this month, before a US disclosure lawsuit was filed, House Democrats launched an investigation into Mr. Trump and Giuliani’s interactions with Ukraine. The suit stems from a complaint filed by the unnamed source. Under US law, if the complaint is of immediate concern, and if the Inspector General considers it “credible,” the head of the Bureau is required to provide Congress with information within eight days of the complaint.
Ms. Pelosi’s announcement officially seals confirmation by a House of Commons inquiry into Mr. Trump’s phone call to the Ukrainian leader and concludes that there has been a violation. In her statement, she said six other congressional committees investigating other issues related to Mr. Trump will continue to work as part of the impeachment investigation. If the investigation continues, the House of Representatives will vote on the charges.
The next step would be in the Senate, which would consider his conviction or acquittal on impeachment charges. A two-thirds vote is required by the Senate for removal, which is currently controlled by the President’s party.