Written by Nicholas Fandos
Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Tuesday that the House would initiate a formal impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump, charging him with betraying his oath of office and the nation’s security by seeking to enlist a foreign power to tarnish a rival for his own political gain.
Pelosi’s declaration, after months of reticence by Democrats who had feared the political consequences of impeaching a president many of them long ago concluded was unfit for office, was a stunning turn that set the stage for a history-making and exceedingly bitter confrontation between the Democrat-led House and a defiant president who has thumbed his nose at institutional norms.
“The actions taken to date by the president have seriously violated the Constitution,” Pelosi said in a brief speech invoking the nation’s founding principles. Trump, she added, “must be held accountable — no one is above the law.”
She said the president’s conduct revealed his “betrayal of his oath of office, betrayal of our national security and betrayal of the integrity of our elections.”
Pelosi’s declaration — after months of reticence by Democrats who had feared the political consequences of impeaching a president many of them long ago concluded was unfit for office — was the first salvo in an escalating, high-stakes standoff.
Trump, who for months has dared Democrats to impeach him, issued a defiant response on Twitter while in New York for several days of international diplomacy at the United Nations, with 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.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 24, 2019
At issue are allegations that Trump pressured the president of Ukraine to open a corruption investigation of former Vice President Joe Biden, a leading contender for the Democratic presidential nomination, and his son. The conversation is said to be part of a whistleblower complaint that the Trump administration has withheld from Congress.
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Trump said Tuesday that he would authorize the release of a transcript of the conversation. House Democrats plan to bring up a resolution Wednesday condemning Trump’s reported behavior toward Ukraine and demanding he release the whistleblower complaint.
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