US Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the House would move ahead with an “official” impeachment effort after reports that President Trump withheld aid to Ukraine while he was pressing the country to investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son.
After months of resisting an impeachment investigation, Mrs Pelosi said at the end of a day of meetings with House Democrats that she was directing six House committees already investigating Mr Trump to continue their probes “under that umbrella of an impeachment inquiry.”
“The actions taken to date by the president have seriously violated the Constitution,” said Mrs Pelosi (D., Calif.), who has expressed concern about the political risks of impeachment.
Her chosen route avoids a full House floor vote on opening a probe, a step that has occurred each of the three previous times the House has launched impeachment proceedings against a president. Such a resolution would require 218 votes to pass; as of Tuesday evening, after several Democrats said they were joining the cause, there were more than 190 lawmakers who publicly supported moving forward on impeachment.
The move is a culmination of what has been a nearly yearlong debate among Democrats about how hard to push for Mr Trump’s removal from office, particularly since they took control of the House this year. Earlier, Democrats’ focus was on Mr Trump’s campaign ties to Russia, the subject of a special counsel report earlier this year, among other issues involving the president.
Now, some lawmakers are arguing that the Republican president using his position to pressure a foreign entity to investigate a political opponent for his own gain is an impeachable offence.
Mrs Pelosi’s decision also represents a bet that voters, whom polls have shown to be wary of impeachment, can be persuaded once more facts emerge.
Source: Wall Street Journal
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