U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday said she has directed a House committee to draft articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump over his effort to pressure Ukraine to investigate a political rival, a historic step that sets up a fight over whether to oust him from office.
Pelosi, speaking in somber tones in a televised statement, accused Trump of abusing his power and alluded to Britain’s King George III, the monarch against whom the American colonies rebelled in forming the United States in 1776.
“Our democracy is what is at stake. The president leaves us no choice but to act because 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.
The impeachment fight undertaken by Pelosi and her fellow House Democrats is unfolding even as the Republican president is running for re-election in 2020.
At the heart of the battle is Trump’s request in July that Ukraine launch an investigation targeting former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, a top contender for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination to face Trump.
“Sadly, but with confidence and humility, with allegiance to our founders and our heart full of love for America, today I am asking our chairman to proceed with articles of impeachment,” Pelosi said, referring to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler.
Articles of impeachment represent formal charges against Trump and would originate in the Judiciary Committee before going to the full House. If the Democratic-led House passes articles of impeachment as expected, that would lead to a trial in the Senate on whether to convict Trump of those charges and remove him from office. Republicans control the Senate and have shown little support for Trump’s removal.
Trump reacted to Pelosi’s announcement on Twitter by writing, “The Do Nothing, Radical Left Democrats have just announced that they are going to seek to Impeach me over NOTHING.”
“The good thing is that the Republicans have NEVER been more united. We will win!” Trump added, while predicting that impeachment now “will be used routinely to attack future Presidents. That is not what our Founders had in mind.”
Pelosi acted after receiving overwhelming support to push forward with the impeachment charges in a meeting with House Democrats on Wednesday night, a source familiar with the meeting said.