House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has instructed the House Judiciary Committee to draft articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, following a Democrat-led impeachment inquiry.
Pelosi – who has until recently been cautious about the political ramifications of impeaching the president – announced the decision on Thursday. Two days earlier, the House Intelligence Committee voted to send a report to the Judiciary Committee. The document alleges that the evidence of Trump’s misconduct is “overwhelming.”
Today, Pelosi echoed this sentiment, telling reporters that “the president’s actions have seriously violated the Constitution.”
The impeachment inquiry against Trump centers on a July phone call between himself and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, during which Democrats allege Trump coerced Zelensky into reopening a corruption investigation against Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden. Democrats say Trump withheld military aid from Kiev to pressure Zelensky into reopening the probe.
Trump, has repeatedly fired back, saying that his phone call with Zelensky was “perfect,” and showed no evidence of the “quid-pro quo” the Democrats allege. A transcript of the call released by the White House shows no direct evidence of this supposed deal, according to the Republicans and none of the witnesses called by Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff could provide watertight proof of this arrangement so far.
Several of these witnesses had only second- or third-hand knowledge of the infamous call, and the intelligence community whistleblower who was actually privy to the call was not among them.
Trump took to Twitter before Pelosi’s announcement to rant at Democrats’ efforts to remove him from office.
“If you’re going to impeach me,” he tweeted, “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.
For Pelosi and her party, the next step in the process is getting the articles of impeachment past a simple majority vote in the House. From there, Trump can only be ousted from the White House after a trial and two-thirds majority vote in the Senate, an unlikely scenario with Republicans in control of the upper house.