Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced on Thursday that the House of Representatives would begin drafting impeachment articles against President Trump.
“Today I am asking our chairmen to proceed with articles of impeachment,” Pelosi said in a televised statement, referring to Judiciary Committee chairman Jerry Nadler of New York and Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff of California.
“The president abused his power for his own personal political benefit,” Pelosi said. “The president’s actions have seriously violated the Constitution.”
“We will proceed in a manner worthy of our oath of office,” she promised.
The announcement by Pelosi, a California congresswoman, confirmed expectations that Democrats would ultimately impeach the president. But she and the chairmen who led the public hearings repeatedly denied that the move was a foregone conclusion.
Although Pelosi did say when Democrats would hold a vote to charge Trump with high crimes and misdemeanors, her party has followed a rapid timetable tha could see them conclude the impeachment process before Christmas.
In a series of tweets earlier in the morning, Trump dared House Democrats to impeach him “now.” He said he wanted the process completed “fast, so we can have a fair trial in the Senate, and so that our Country can get back to business.”
Republicans hold a 53 to 47 majority in the Senate, and it would take a two-thirds majority to vote to remove Trump from office.
Stephanie Grisham, a White House spokeswoman, said in a tweet that Trump had done nothing but lead the country in a booming economy with more jobs and a stronger military.
We look forward to a fair trial in the Senate,” Grisham said.
On Tuesday, Democrats released a report summarizing their conclusions from the inquiry, saying the “evidence of the President’s misconduct is overwhelming, and so too is the evidence of his obstruction of Congress.”
Republicans, for their part, issued a minority report arguing: “The evidence presented does not prove any of these Democrat allegations, and none of the Democrats’ witnesses testified to having evidence of bribery, extortion, or any high crime or misdemeanor.”
A day before Pelosi announces impeachment charges
Then, on Wednesday, Democrats held a daylong hearing in the House Judiciary Committee. They brought in three law professors to tell them that impeachment was constitutionally justified because Trump urged Ukraine to investigate his political rivals while withholding a meeting and military aid.
However, Trump dismissed the hearing as “a joke.”
Echoing argument made by Republicans on the committee, Grisham said the hearing helped Trump and hurt Democrats by accomplishing nothing more than establishing the liberal bias of the witnesses.
“It did nothing to change the fact that, despite weeks of hearings in this sham process, the president did nothing wrong,” Grisham said.