WASHINGTON — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., announced on Thursday she is asking the House Judiciary Committee to proceed with drafting articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, saying “the president leaves us no choice but to act.”
Pelosi said in a statement at the Capitol that the facts of Trump’s alleged wrongdoing involving Ukraine “are uncontested.”
“The president abused his power for his own personal, political benefit at the risk” of U.S. national security, Pelosi said, adding that his actions “seriously violated the Constitution.”
“Our democracy is what’s at stake,” Pelosi continued. “The president leaves us no choice but to act because he is trying to corrupt, once again, the election for his own benefit.”
Pelosi began her statement citing deliberations between the Founding Fathers with regards to impeachment, and said there was never the intention in the U.S. for one person to be “a king.”
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Her announcement came one day after the House Judiciary Committee held its first hearing in the inquiry in which three of the four witnesses argued that Trump committed impeachable offenses, including in his campaign to pressure Ukraine to investigate the Bidens. The three scholars were called as witnesses by Democrats on the committee, while the fourth, a Republican witness, said impeachment was not warranted at this time.
Earlier this week, Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee released a 300-page report on Trump’s conduct, saying the investigation “uncovered a months-long effort by President Trump to use the powers of his office to solicit foreign interference on his behalf in the 2020 election.” Republicans, in a separate report, said Trump did nothing wrong.
Soon after Pelosi’s announcement, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said the House speaker and Democrats “should be ashamed.”
Trump “has done nothing but lead our country — resulting in a booming economy, more jobs & a stronger military, to name just a few of his major accomplishments,” Grisham tweeted. We look forward to a fair trial in the Senate.”
On the Democratic side, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., said she felt Pelosi’s call to move forward with article of impeachment is “entirely appropriate” because “the evidence that the President abused his power is overwhelming” and is “deserving of impeachment.”
Pelosi, who is holding her weekly press conference later Thursday morning, has been seeking input from members of the House Democratic caucus about how they should move forward with the impeachment inquiry. The speaker earlier this week stopped short of announcing that the House intends to bring articles of impeachment against the president.
Pelosi held a closed-door caucus meeting with Democrats on Wednesday morning in which staffers were not allowed inside and lawmakers were forced to check their phones at the doors. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., received a standing ovation inside the meeting for the work that he did in his committee to conduct the initial impeachment investigation, which included 17 closed-door interviews with key witnesses with 12 of them testifying in public before the Thanksgiving break.
Congress is scheduled to be in session until right before the week of Christmas and Democrats are facing pressure to wrap up their end of the impeachment process before the end of the year, possibly with a floor vote of the House on whether Trump should be impeached. If the House impeaches the president, the process then moves to the Senate where it’s expected to hold a trial early next year.
Ahead of Pelosi’s announcement, Trump took to Twitter to push for the House to conduct a “fast” impeachment so it can move on to a Senate trial, blasting Democrats for their handling of the inquiry.
“They have no Impeachment case and are demeaning our Country,” Trump wrote on Thursday. “But nothing matters to them, they have gone crazy. Therefore I say, if you are going to impeach me, do it now, fast, so we can have a fair trial in the Senate, and so that our Country can get back to business.”
Trump said Senate Republicans will call Pelosi, Schiff, the Bidens “and many more” to testify.