Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the House is opening a formal impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump, saying he’s violated his oath of office and obligations under the Constitution, Bloomberg reports.
“The President must be held accountable. No one is above the law,” Pelosi said at a news conference Tuesday after a closed-door meeting with her party.
The announcement was a stunning development that unfolded after months of caution by House Democrats, who have been divided over using the ultimate remedy to address what they have called flagrant misconduct by the President. It had the potential to reshape Trump’s presidency and to cleave an already divided nation only a year before he plans to stand for re-election.
In this case, with an avalanche of Democrats – including many who had resisted the move – now demanding it, Pelosi said that Trump’s reported actions, and his administration’s refusal to share details about the matter with Congress, have left the House no alternative outside of impeachment, The New York Times writes.
At issue are allegations that Trump pressured the president of Ukraine to open a corruption investigation of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., a leading contender for the Democratic presidential nomination, and his son. The conversation is said to be part of a whistle-blower complaint that the Trump administration has withheld from Congress.
Trump said on Tuesday that he would authorize the release of a transcript of the conversation, practically daring Democrats to try to find an impeachable offense in a conversation that he has called “perfect.” But Democrats, after months of holding back, demanded the full whistle-blower complaint, even as they pushed toward an expansive impeachment inquiry that could encompass unrelated charges.
“The actions of the Trump presidency revealed dishonorable facts of the president’s betrayal of his oath of office, betrayal of our national security and betrayal of the integrity of our elections,” Pelosi said.
The President, in New York for several days of international diplomacy at the United Nations, issued a defiant response on Twitter, in a series of fuming posts that culminated with a simple phrase: “PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT!”
“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,” Trump wrote. “So bad for our Country!