House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) on Dec. 5 asked House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) to draft the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.
Pelosi announced her request in a brief statement to the press. She accused the president of abusing his power for personal political gain.
“Sadly, but with confidence and humility, with allegiance to our founders and a heart full of love for America, today I am asking our chairman to proceed with articles of impeachment,” Pelosi said.
“The president abused his power for his own personal political benefit at the expense of our national security by withholding military aid and crucial oval office meeting in exchange for an announcement of an investigation into his political rival,” she added. “Our Democracy is what is at stake. The president leaves us no choice but to act.”
In a closed-door meeting with House Democrats on the day prior to the announcement, Pelosi asked, “Are you ready?” According to those in the room, the answer was a resounding yes.
Pelosi made the announcement two days after Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee released and approved a report summarizing the findings from weeks of impeachment hearings. The 300-page report document contains no first-hand evidence showing that Trump directed anyone to carry out the scheme alleged by the Democrats.
The White House did not immediately return a request for comment. An hour prior to Pelosis announcement, Trump urged the Democrats to move forward with impeachment quickly so he can have a fair trial in the Senate.
“The Do Nothing Democrats had a historically bad day yesterday in the House. They have no Impeachment case and are demeaning our Country. But nothing matters to them, they have gone crazy. Therefore I say, if you are going to impeach me, do it now, fast, so we can have a fair trial in the Senate, and so that our Country can get back to business,” Trump wrote on Twitter.
“We will have Schiff, the Bidens, Pelosi and many more testify, and will reveal, for the first time, how corrupt our system really is. I was elected to Clean the Swamp, and thats what I am doing!”
…..trial in the Senate, and so that our Country can get back to business. We will have Schiff, the Bidens, Pelosi and many more testify, and will reveal, for the first time, how corrupt our system really is. I was elected to “Clean the Swamp,” and thats what I am doing!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 5, 2019
The Democrats allege that Trump solicited election interference from a foreign power when he asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to “look into” the firing of Ukrainian Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin. Former vice president Joe Biden, a 2020 election contender, has bragged about forcing Shokins ouster by withholding $1 billion in loan guarantees. Weeks before Shokin was forced to submit his resignation in February 2016, Shokin had seized the assets of Mykola Zlochevksy, the owner of Burisma, a Ukrainian gas company. At the time Joe Biden exerted the pressure, his son, Hunter Biden, held a paid position on the board of Burisma.
The Democrats further allege that Trump withheld security assistance and the prospect of a White House meeting in order to pressure Zelensky to investigate the Bidens. Zelensky has said he did not feel pressured and that there was no quid pro quo. Trump has denied any wrongdoing.
In the brief announcement, Pelosi referenced statements from the founding fathers as well as the Dec. 4 public testimony by legal scholars.
Three legal scholars called by the Democrats told the House Judiciary Committee on Dec. 4 that Trumps attempts to have Ukraine investigate a political rival constitute an impeachable offense. A fourth expert, called by the Republicans, testified that Democrats are rushing the process, making the current impeachment proceeding the shortest in history and based on the “thinnest” evidence in modern times. Moving toward impeachment now would amount to an abuse of power by the Democrats, the expert said.
At the closed-door meeting with Pelosi, the Democrats delivered a standing ovation to Rep. Adam Schiff, who has led the impeachment proceedings as the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.
The Democrats impeachment report revealed that Schiff had obtained the records of phone calls involving Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), Republican committee staffers, the presidents personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, and investigative journalist John Solomon. The Wall Street Journal editorial board lambasted the move in an