WASHINGTON - Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, in prepared remarks Tuesday, announced the House would open a formal impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump.
The inquiry comes after a whistleblower filed a complaint Aug. 12 with the Office of Intelligence Community Inspector General over a phone call made by Trump to a foreign leader.
While the details of the complaint haven't been made public, The New York Times reported the complaint is related to Trump and Ukraine. The Wall Street Journal reported that Trump pushed the recently elected Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensy, to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden's son, Hunter.
Update 11:15 p.m. EDT Sept. 24: President Trump is preparing to release the whistleblower complaint to Congress as early as Wednesday, multiple sources reported.
The exact content of the complaint hasn't been made public. People "familiar with the situation" told The New York Times the administration was putting the complaint through a declassification process and that it would be available within days.
Trump also said in a tweet Tuesday evening that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo received permission from the Ukranian government to release the transcript of the call.
Update 6:15 p.m. EDT Sept. 24: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy responded to the impeachment inquiry, saying Pelosi "doesn't speak for all Americans on this issue."
"Our job is to legislate. Not to continue to investigate something in the back when you cannot find any reason to impeach this president," McCarthy said. "... It's time to put the public before politics."
Update 5:10 p.m. EDT Sept. 24: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that a formal impeachment inquiry of President Trump has been launched.
"Today, I'm announcing the House of Representatives is moving forward with an official impeachment inquiry," Pelosi said. "I'm directing our six committees to proceed with their investigations under that umbrella ... The president must be held accountable."
Pelosi cited the whistleblower complaint and Trump's July phone conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensy.
“The actions of the Trump presidency have revealed the dishonorable fact of the president’s betrayal of his oath of office, betrayal of our national security and betrayal of the integrity of our elections,” Pelosi said.
Trump immediately responded with a series of tweets.
"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!" Trump said.
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
Pelosi, Nadler, Schiff and, of course, Maxine Waters! Can you believe this?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 24, 2019
They never even saw the transcript of the call. A total Witch Hunt!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 24, 2019
PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 24, 2019
Trump has said he will release the transcript of the call in question.
"I am currently at the United Nations representing our Country, but have authorized the release tomorrow of the complete, fully declassified and unredacted transcript of my phone conversation with President Zelensky of Ukraine...." he tweeted Tuesday afternoon.
"....You will see it was a very friendly and totally appropriate call. No pressure and, unlike Joe Biden and his son, NO quid pro quo! This is nothing more than a continuation of the Greatest and most Destructive Witch Hunt of all time!"
Original report: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will announce Tuesday a formal impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump, according to multiple reports.
More than 150 House Democrats are backing an impeachment inquiry as momentum shifts in the Democratic caucus.— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) September 24, 2019
Democratic officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to speak frankly, said Pelosi would back the step. https://t.co/6ab2DHkftL
A growing number of Democrats have shown support for beginning an impeachment inquiry, spurred by recent reports that a U.S. intelligence official filed a whistleblower complaint against the president last month.
"I've said to people, 'As soon as we have the facts, we're ready,'" Pelosi said earlier Tuesday while speaking at The Atlantic Festival. "Now we have the facts. We're ready. For later today."
Pelosi: "I've said to people, 'As soon as we have the facts, we're ready.' Now we have the facts. We're ready... for later today." Plugging her 5pm statement... pic.twitter.com/9Sj5uCbyZ0— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) September 24, 2019
Pelosi is expected to speak publicly about the path forward at 5 p.m. EDT.
At issue is a summer phone call Trump had with Ukraine's president, which came to Congress' attention through a whistleblower complaint. Trump has insisted he did nothing wrong in the call, but has suggested he raised Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter as part of discussions over corruption in Ukraine — despite no evidence of wrongdoing on the part of either man.
Trump announced Tuesday on Twitter that he authorized the release of a transcript of the conversation.
"You will see it was a very friendly and totally appropriate call," the president wrote.
I am currently at the United Nations representing our Country, but have authorized the release tomorrow of the complete, fully declassified and unredacted transcript of my phone conversation with President Zelensky of Ukraine....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 24, 2019
....You will see it was a very friendly and totally appropriate call. No pressure and, unlike Joe Biden and his son, NO quid pro quo! This is nothing more than a continuation of the Greatest and most Destructive Witch Hunt of all time!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 24, 2019
Check back for updates to this developing story.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
FLORIDA POLITICIANS REACT:
Sen. Rick Scott's office released the following statement:
"Senator Scott wants to see the facts about exactly what happened with both the President and Joe Biden. In the real world, when allegations are made, you reserve judgment until you know the facts. But the Democrats have no interest in the facts. While the Democrats focus on their hatred of the President, Senator Scott is focused on solving real problems for American families – like lowering the cost of prescription drugs and securing the border."
Rep. Stephanie Murphy tweeted the following:
Similar to how a select committee was established during Watergate, the Speaker should appoint a bipartisan select committee to immediately investigate abuse of executive power. We must uncover all the facts and provide answers to the American people.— Rep. Stephanie Murphy (@RepStephMurphy) September 24, 2019
Rep. Val Demings released the following statement:
President Trump has broken his oath of office, abusing the power of the presidency for personal gain. He has left us no choice but to impeach.— Rep. Val Demings (@RepValDemings) September 24, 2019
My statement on tonight’s historic shift: pic.twitter.com/kpFOQtKD0u
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz released the following statement:
My full statement on impeachment proceedings:https://t.co/78eVQP3cD5— Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (@RepDWStweets) September 24, 2019
Sen. Marco Rubio released the following statement and tweet:
"It is possible to do something that is wrong and not be an impeachable offense, and people are throwing that term around so loosely it's lost all meaning."
Impeachment is an extraordinary measure that should be employed with caution & on the basis of facts. It nullifies an election & is deeply divisive & disruptive.— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) September 25, 2019
And yet many didn’t even wait to read the transcripts or the complaint before making up their minds.
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