House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced a formal impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump on Tuesday, amid a firestorm stemming from suspicions that the president may have called upon Ukraine to benefit him politically.
In a press conference, the California Democrat laid out a case against Trump, which centers on the president’s admission that he withheld military aid to Ukraine.
In recent days, various reports have suggested Trump held back the money in order to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky into probing the son of former Vice President Joe Biden, his potential rival in the 2020 general election.
Earlier this week, Trump said that Ukrainian aid was withheld because the United States was contributing more to Ukraine than other European countries. Yet calling his actions “a breach of national security,” Pelosi formally declared an inquiry that could result in his removal from office.
Pelosi, who has been under growing pressure from House Democrats since the Russia probe to press ahead with impeachment, finally relented on Tuesday. In a speech that repeatedly referenced the founding of the Constitution, the speaker declared that “nobody is above the law.”
Accusing Trump of a “breach of his constitutional responsibilities” she said that “actions taken to date by the president have seriously violated the Constitution.”
Pelosi added that “the president must be held accountable, nobody is above the law.” Her actions were certain to intensify an already polarizing election year, with Democrats jockeying to be the party’s standard-bearer against Trump in 2020.
In response to growing calls for impeachment, the president told reporters that he would authorize the release of the transcript of his phone call. In response to Pelosi’s speech Trump declared that the inquiry was yet another “witch hunt” perpetrated by Democrats seeking his ouster.
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
According to counts from The New York Times, 176 Representatives in the House support an impeachment inquiry, with 74 still undecided or against moving forward with an inquiry. Meanwhile, 185 still have yet to decide.
Kristin Myers is a reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter.