RNA - In an announcement notable for its formal tone, Pelosi, who had rejected moving forward with impeachment for months, framed the move as a necessary response to the long trail of allegations against President Donald Trump, The Hill reported.
“Our republic endures because of the wisdom of our Constitution enshrined in three co-equal branches that act as checks and balances,” Pelosi said from a flag-adorned Speaker’s Balcony behind her office in the Capitol, adding, “The president must be held accountable. No one is above the law.”
Her decision was sparked by Trump’s own admissions that he had spoken to Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky about looking into former Vice President Joe Biden, a leading candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, just weeks after withholding military aid to that country.
The allegations against Trump shocked Democrats, particularly since their timing occurred after the end of a long investigation by former Special Counsel Robert Mueller focused on whether Trump or his campaign had cooperated with Russia in its meddling in the 2016 election.
Trump has denied any wrongdoing and said the aid to Ukraine, which was eventually delivered, was withheld because other countries had not offered help to Kiev. He also added that he would release a transcript of his July 25 call, a move that did not satisfy Democrats.
The president’s conversations also launched a complaint from a whistleblower within the administration that the executive branch has refused to turn over to lawmakers. It has angered Democrats and contributed to an escalating number of them calling for an inquiry. Several outlets reported late Tuesday, however, that Trump was prepared to turnover the whistleblower report, as well.
The Speaker’s short announcement capped an extraordinary day on Capitol Hill where Pelosi held back-to-back meetings with the six committee chairmen investigating Trump, and then the full 235-member caucus.
The speed with which the evolving controversy turned into an impeachment inquiry was startling, even for longtime veterans on Capitol Hill.
“You had all of a sudden this kind of galloping series of events, where it became, ‘No I didn’t; what if I did?; so what?,” said Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.), chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, describing Trump’s attitude toward congressional investigators.
“And I think that’s what propelled the next request that the Speaker made to the Caucus to proceed with a formal inquiry,” Neal added.
The pivot also came after more than two dozen Democrats this week publicly endorsed impeachment articles, or an impeachment inquiry, into Trump’s alleged misconduct.
The White House on Tuesday declared that House Democrats "destroyed any chances of legislative progress" by launching an impeachment inquiry into Trump.
Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham issued a scathing statement deriding the opposing party as "pathetic" hours after Pelosi announced the House would pursue a formal impeachment inquiry into Trump.
"In a far departure from all of the work and results of this President, House Democrats have destroyed any chances of legislative progress for the people of this country by continuing to focus all their energy on partisan political attacks," Grisham said, noting, "Their attacks on the President and his agenda are not only partisan and pathetic, they are in dereliction of their Constitutional duty."
"The Trump Administration will continue to be vigorous in laying out the facts and standing up for the many forgotten men and women who elected him," Grisham added.
Trump also railed against House Democrats on Tuesday evening for trying to “ruin and demean” his appearance at the United Nations General Assembly by announcing a formal impeachment inquiry.
“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,” Trump tweeted shortly after returning to Trump Tower in New York following a day of meetings at the UN General Assembly.
“They never even saw the transcript of the call. A total Witch Hunt!” Trump tweeted, calling out several Democratic chairs by name and accusing them of “presidential harassment.”
"Secretary of State Pompeo recieved permission from Ukraine Government to release the transcript of the telephone call I had with their President. They don’t know either what the big deal is. A total Witch Hunt Scam by the Democrats!" he added.