Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announced on Tuesday a formal impeachment inquiry in Donald Trump.
“The President must be held accountable. No one is above the law,” she said in a televised statement.
Trump stands accused of pressuring a foreign leader to investigate former vice president Joe Biden and his family. After a closed-door meeting with her caucus, Pelosi emerged ready to make her announcement.
The noise around House Democrats wanting Trump impeached has been loud since Democrats took back control of the House in late 2018. The reports regarding Trump’s alleged pressuring of the president of the Ukraine created a groundswell of support among Democrats for impeachment ranging from John Lewis to current Presidential candidates Cory Booker and Kamala Harris.
“The president is making lawlessness a virtue in our country,” Pelosi said at a Tuesday afternoon event at the Atlantic. “We don’t ask foreign governments to help us in our elections. That’s what we tried to stop with Russia. It’s wrong.”
Trump has admitted publicly that he asked Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky to probe Biden’s son, Hunter, who has connections to a business that was under investigation. Although he denied no pressure was involved, the Washington Post reported that Trump asked his staff to freeze military assistance to Ukraine a week before he made the request to Zelensky.
“I can take the political attacks. They’ll come and they’ll go, and in time they’ll soon be forgotten. But if we allow a president to get away with shredding the United States Constitution, that will last forever,” Biden said.
Impeachment has only occurred twice in U.S. history, against Presidents Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton. Both men came up to vote in the Senate and ultimately remained in office. President Richard Nixon resigned in 1974 rather than face a House vote on impeachment.