WASHINGTON — Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Thursday that House Democrats must move swiftly to draw up formal articles of impeachment against President Trump. Democrats seem poised to push House votes as early as Christmas.
Pelosi warned that Trump would continue to corrupt the democratic process if left in power and that his actions left Democratic leaders with “no choice.” Once drafted, a formal push towards impeachment will mark the fourth time in U.S. history Congress has tried to remove a president.
“The president’s actions have seriously violated the Constitution,” Pelosi said in an address at the Capitol. “He is trying to corrupt, once again, the election for his own benefit. The president has engaged in abuse of power, undermining our national security and jeopardizing the integrity of our elections.”
Pelosi said that it was Congress’ duty to protect the Constitution by practicing oversight on the actions of the executive branch as a key part of the country’s checks and balances system.
Trump appeared ready and determined for a fight, testing the Democrats’ will over social media posts and warning that Republicans would remain squarely behind him if the impeachment trial got to Senate.
“The Do Nothing Democrats had a historically bad day yesterday in the House,” Trump tweeted. “They have no impeachment case and are demeaning our country.
“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. We will have Schiff, the Bidens, Pelosi and many more testify, and will reveal, for the first time, how corrupt our system really is. I was elected to “clean the swamp” and that’s what I am doing!”
The Do Nothing, Radical Left Democrats have just announced that they are going to seek to Impeach me over NOTHING. They already gave up on the ridiculous Mueller “stuff,” so now they hang their hats on two totally appropriate (perfect) phone calls with the Ukrainian President….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 5, 2019
Trump and the Republicans remain steadfast that the president did nothing wrong in asking Ukraine’s president to investigate his political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, in a July phone call.
Transcripts of the phone call released by Trump’s office show him asking Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky to look into the business dealings of Biden’s son, Hunter, in his country.
“There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can with the attorney general would be great,” Trump told Zelensky. “Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution, so if can look in it…”
Democrats argue that Trump abused the power of his office by putting personal political gain over national security interests, engaging in bribery by holding out $400 million in military aid that Congress had approved for Ukraine and then obstructing Congress by interfering in and stonewalling the investigation.
Congressional leaders heard analysis and testimony from several prominent legal scholars at a publicly aired Judiciary Committee session on Wednesday, a final push for preparedness ahead of a risky and highly polarizing impeachment vote. The scholars agreed that Trump’s dealings with Ukraine constituted an impeachable offense.
The hearing came a day after the long-awaited publishing of a 300 page investigative report by Congress, titled “The Trump-Ukraine Impeachment Inquiry Report.” The report is expected to be published into book form by Random House which will also carry audio-book and e-book versions.