Update 5:09p.m.: Speaker Pelosi announced Tuesday afternoon the opening of a formal impeachment inquiry into allegations that President Trump withheld Ukrainian military aid in order to coerce the opening of an investigation into political rival Joe Biden. The announcement brings the six ongoing committee investigations into the president under the umbrella of a formal impeachment inquiry, but does not establish a separate select committee to investigate the matter.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi announces that the House of Representatives is opening an impeachment inquiry into President Trump pic.twitter.com/vZRq5PQxIt
— Axios (@axios) September 24, 2019
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will announce formal impeachment proceedings against President Trump on Tuesday, according to reports, after months of attempting to quell calls from her caucus to remove the president.
The California Democrat will meet with her entire caucus behind closed doors Tuesday afternoon and will make her announcement afterwards.
“As soon as we have the facts, we’re ready. Now that we have the facts, we’re ready,” Pelosi said Tuesday during remarks at the Atlantic Ideas Summit. “For later today.”
Reports broke last week that Trump had asked the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, multiple times during a July 25 phone call to investigate Hunter Biden, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s son. The former vice president has been accused of using his position to boost a Ukrainian energy company that was doing business with his son. In 2014, Biden urged the dismissal of a prosecutor who oversaw investigations into the head of the gas company. The whistleblower complaint was made by an anonymous member of the intelligence community who lacked direct knowledge of the call, according to CNN.
Trump fueled speculation about a possible quid pro quo scheme when he admitted Tuesday that he did withhold military funding from Ukraine, which relies on American support for protection from Russian aggression, but the president said the delay was because he wanted other nations to contribute to Ukraine as well.
“It’s nonsense, and when you see the call, when you see the readout of the call, which I assume you’ll see at some point, you’ll understand. That call was perfect,” Trump said of calls for his impeachment.
About two-thirds of the 235 House Democrats now support launching impeachment proceedings, including members considered vulnerable in 2020 and members from swing districts.
“It feels like the dam is beginning to break,” Democratic congressman David Cicilline said earlier Tuesday. “It feels like there’s a growing sense that we cannot allow this to continue, and that Congress is greally the protector of our democracy.”
“The future of our democracy is at stake,” Representative John Lewis said on the House floor as he endorsed impeachment. “There comes a time when you have to be moved by the spirit of history to take action to protect and preserve the integrity of our nation.”
Pelosi warned the White House over the weekend of vague but serious consequences regarding the Ukraine matter.
The administration “will be entering a grave new chapter of lawlessness which will take us into a whole new stage of investigation” if it continues to block the whistleblower from providing information to Congress about the allegations, Pelosi warned Sunday in a letter to House Democrats.