Following meetings with Democratic congressional leaders on Tuesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the caucus plans to move toward impeachment proceedings against US President Donald Trump by opening a formal inquiry.
Pelosi’s comments followed a meeting with leaders of six congressional committees collectively responsible for the investigation into Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. The phone call was recently revealed to be the subject of an August whistleblower report that the Trump administration has fought to keep from Congress.
The purpose of the meeting was reportedly to establish the basis of a select committee to carry out the impeachment proceedings, anonymous Democratic officials told the Washington Post.
“The actions of the Trump presidency revealed the dishonorable fact 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 in the televised address. “Therefore, today I’m announcing the House of Representatives is moving forward with an official impeachment inquiry.”
“The president must be held accountable,” the House Speaker continued. “No one is above the law.”
“This is not a partisan matter, it’s about the integrity of our democracy, respect for the rule of law and defending our Constitution,” Pelosi said in a Tuesday statement released shortly after the address in conjunction with House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD). “We hope that all Members of the House – Democrats and Republicans alike – will join in upholding the rule of law and oath of office to protect and defend the Constitution as Representatives of the American people.”
The decision to begin a formal impeachment inquiry doesn’t mean the House will vote to charge Trump with breaking the law, much less that he will be found guilty. If they do charge him, the trial will be conducted by the Republican-dominated Senate.
The House will vote on a resolution on Wednesday “making it clear Congress’s disapproval of the Administration’s effort to block the release of the complaint and the need to protect the whistleblower. This is not a partisan matter,” Pelosi said Tuesday.
The announcement follows news earlier in the day that Trump would release an unredacted transcript of the call with Zelenskyy on Wednesday. However, he has dismissed reports about the whistleblower complaint, calling it “presidential harassment” and “another Fake News story.”