The dam has broken.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi officially launched impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump on Tuesday afternoon in one of the most consequential moments of the Trump presidency.
“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. “Therefore, today I’m announcing the House of Representatives is moving forward with an official impeachment inquiry.”
Pelosi announces House will begin formal impeachment inquiry pic.twitter.com/JzLxFueF8e
— TPM Livewire (@TPMLiveWire) September 24, 2019
The House speaker said she had directed the chairs of the House Judiciary, Ways and Means, Financial Services, Oversight, Foreign Intelligence, and Foreign Affairs committees to conduct the impeachment inquiries per each committee’s purview.
Pelosi’s announcement came after the Trump administration blocked Congress from accessing a whistleblower’s complaint about Trump, which reportedly detailed his attempts to pressure the president of Ukraine to investigate his top 2020 rival, Joe Biden. Around the same time, Trump delayed almost $400 million of congressionally approved military aid to Ukraine.
The historic move marks a dramatic shift in the House speaker’s previously reluctant attitude toward impeachment. She and other Democratic leaders had rejected calls for impeachment for months, arguing that the move could hurt Democrats at the polls if the public didn’t support it.
Trump responded to the announcement by complaining Democrats “purposely had to ruin and demean” the day “with more breaking news Witch Hunt garbage.”
“So bad for our Country!” He tweeted.
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. So bad for our Country!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 24, 2019
At least 160 rank-and-file Democrats have called for impeachment proceedings.
Several hours earlier, Pelosi all but tipped her hand during an interview with The Atlantic, saying that “we’re ready–for later today” now that “we have the facts.”
Biden himself said earlier Tuesday Congress has “no choice” but to begin impeachment proceedings if Trump kept stonewalling their attempts to investigate his alleged wrongdoing.
Watch Pelosi’s full statement below:
WATCH: Speaker Pelosi's full statement announcing an official impeachment inquiry against President Trump: "The president must be held accountable. No one is above the law."
— NBC News (@NBCNews) September 24, 2019