It’s only the fourth time in American history that a formal impeachment inquiry has been launched against a sitting U.S. president.
On Tuesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced her decision to launch the proceeding against President Donald Trump, saying Trump admitted to personally withholding military security aid that Congress appropriated to help Ukraine counter Russian aggression and he admitted to personally urging a foreign actor to dig up dirt on his political rival.
Pelosi had resisted calls to launch impeachment proceedings against Trump---until this week because of the growing controversy over President Trump and Ukraine. The California Democrat accused Trump of pressuring a foreign government to investigate former VP Joe Biden and his son Hunter. Hunter Biden had some business dealings with Ukraine. Pelosi accused Trump of undermining national security and of committing a breach of his constitutional responsibility. No evidence of impropriety by the Bidens has emerged.
“The actions of the Trump presidency revealed dishonorable fact of the presidents betrayal of his oath of office,” said Pelosi. “Betrayal of our national security, and betrayal of the integrity of our elections.”
The New York Times reports at issue are allegations that Mr. Trump pressured the president of Ukraine to open a corruption investigation of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., a leading contender for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, and his son. The conversation is said to be part of a whistle-blower complaint that the Trump administration has withheld from Congress--occurring just a few days after Mr. Trump had ordered his staff to freeze more than $391 million in aid to Ukraine.
At the United Nations in New York City, Trump insisted that he did not pressure the Ukrainian president and he accused Democrats of engaging in another "witch hunt."
The Acting Director of National Intelligence is speaking out about the whistleblower complaint involving the phone call between President Trump and Ukraine's president. In a statement, Joseph Maguire says he's committed to "protecting whistleblowers" and making sure each complaint is handled appropriately. He added that he has upheld his responsibility to "follow the law every step of the way."
Reaction to the Pelosi’s announcement was not surprising from Maryland’s Congressional delegation, as it fell along party lines. Maryland Congressman Elijah Cummings—who chairs the House Oversight Committee investigating Trump on several fronts, is supporting Speaker Pelosi's decision to launch an impeachment inquiry against President Trump. In a statement, the Baltimore Democrat says the president admitted to personally withholding military security aid that Congress appropriated to help Ukraine counter Russian aggression and he admitted to personally urging a foreign actor to dig up dirt on his political rival. Cummings says Trump should have learned from the 2016 election that pressing a foreign actor to interfere in national elections is a corruption of democracy, an affront to the Constitution and a breach of his oath of office.
“I’m directing our six committees to proceed with their investigations (of Trump/Trump Organization) under that umbrella of impeachment inquiry,” said Pelosi in televised remarks Tuesday after a meeting of House Democrats.
Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger says he supports an impeachment inquiry into President Trump. The Democrat says as a former prosecutor, he has resisted calls to begin impeachment proceedings against the President until there was “clear, indisputable evidence that transcends politics.” He adds it's yet another example of the President doing Vladimir Putin's bidding.
Maryland's lone Republican, First District Representative Andy Harris, says this is not what the American people expect Congress to be doing. Harris says the Mueller report didn't turn out the way Democrats wanted and many have been calling for the president's impeachment from the day he took office, so this is nothing new. Congressman Harris is a co-chair of the House Ukraine Caucus.
Former FBI Director James Comey says he hopes President Trump won't be impeached and removed from office. Comey made that comment Tuesday, telling Sacramento's KCRA-TV that impeaching Trump would let the American people “off the hook and leave many of his supporters thinking it was a coup.” Comey said Americans should speak at the ballot box about what values they want in a leader.
Hillary Clinton says she's in favor of moving toward impeaching Donald Trump, calling the President a "corrupt human tornado." In an interview with People released Tuesday, the former first lady, secretary of state and presidential candidate said she didn't come to that decision easily, but we're in a crisis. She focused on the accusations that Trump tried to get the president of Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden's son in exchange for military aid, accusations at the center of an impeachment inquiry started Tuesday by House Democrats. Clinton called Trump a "clear and present danger to the future of the United States."