House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., announced Thursday that she was asking the House Judiciary Committee and chairmen of other committees to proceed with drafting articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, saying “the president leaves us no choice but to act.”
“Sadly, but with confidence and humility, with allegiance to our founders and our heart full of love for America, today, I am asking our chairmen to proceed with articles of impeachment,” Pelosi said in a brief televised statement from the Capitol, speaking directly to the American people.
The facts of Trump’s alleged wrongdoing involving Ukraine, she said, “are uncontested.”
“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,” Pelosi said, adding that his actions “seriously violated the Constitution.”
“Our democracy is what’s at stake,” Pelosi continued. “The president leaves us no choice but to act because he is trying to corrupt, once again, the election for his own benefit.”
Pelosi began her statement citing deliberations by the Founding Fathers with regard to impeachment, saying in particular that “they feared the prospect of a king-president corrupted by foreign influence.”
To protect the nation from that possibility, Pelosi said that the founders “created a Constitutional remedy to protect against the dangerous or corrupt leader — impeachment.”
The House Judiciary Committee announced afterward that it will hold its next impeachment on Monday at 9 a.m. ET, when the panel will receive presentations from Democratic and GOP counsels to the Intelligence Committee on the evidence collected in the inquiry.
Pelosi did not say whether she had set a deadline for committees to write the articles of impeachment or when a full House vote would take place. Members who attended a closed-door Democratic caucus meeting on Wednesday, however, said they understood that the House would vote on articles before the holiday recess. One member said they were told to “not make plans” for Dec. 21 or 22, the weekend before Christmas.
The speaker did not specify whether the articles would encompass other oversight investigations that Democrats had already been conducting before the Ukraine case surfaced. Some lawmakers have floated the idea of wrapping in articles that would involve findings from the Mueller report, but no final decisions have been made.
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SOURCE: NBC News, Rebecca Shabad and Allan Smith