WASHINGTON (AP/KLFY) – (9/25/19) House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced Tuesday, Sept. 24, that the House of Representatives would open a formal impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.
The announcement comes as President Trump is under scrutiny for his communications with the president of Ukraine.
Pelosi made the announcement Tuesday from the speaker’s office at the Capitol saying “no one is above the law.”
The move puts the Democratic speaker’s stamp on the investigations that have been underway in the House.
Calls for an impeachment inquiry have intensified following reports that the President may have sought a foreign government’s help in his reelection bid.
Pelosi says the president “must be held accountable.”
President Trump tweeted shortly after Pelosi’s announcement, “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!”
Pelosi has long resisted calls from many progressive lawmakers to initiate impeachment proceedings against the president, but Democrats appear to have reached a breaking point over the administration’s refusal to hand over a whistleblower complaint and information related to other investigations.
One after another on Monday and Tuesday, Democrats from vulnerable House districts who had been resisting previous calls for impeachment came out in favor of initiating impeachment proceedings, citing concerns over President Trump’s potential pressuring of a foreign leader to investigate a domestic political opponent.
The current furor stems from a call President Trump made to the president of Ukraine in July, in which he admitted discussing Joe Biden in the context of fighting “corruption” in the country. President Trump and his allies, in particular personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, have accused Biden of pushing for the ouster of a Ukrainian prosecutor while he was vice president in order to benefit his son. The prosecutor was widely seen as corrupt, and no evidence of wrongdoing on the part of Biden has yet emerged.
The president directed his acting chief of staff to hold off on releasing nearly $400 million in military aid to Ukraine shortly before the call in July, according to a senior administration official with direct knowledge of the administration’s actions.
President Trump, who is in New York for the opening of the United Nations General Assembly, said he would release the transcript of the call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that is part of the whistleblower complaint.
“You will see it was a very friendly and totally appropriate call. No pressure and, unlike Joe Biden and his son, NO quid pro quo!” the president tweeted Tuesday afternoon.
That concession, however, appeared unlikely to temper Democrats’ demands for the complaint itself. Congressman Adam Schiff, the Democratic chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said the whistleblower wants to testify before the committee. Schiff tweeted that the whistleblower’s testimony could come “as soon as this week.”