Following Democrats’ growing calls to impeach President Donald Trump, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced official proceedings on Tuesday afternoon. “The president must be held accountable. No one is above the law,” Pelosi said in her video address.
Talk of impeachment has followed Trump for months, and Pelosi had previously said that Democrats needed to have the best possible case before launching an impeachment inquiry. However, Trump’s latest scandal involving a call to the Ukraine seems to have been the final straw. The controversy came to light after a whistleblower reportedly filed a complaint over an exchange Trump had with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky. Trump is accused of pressing Zelensky to dig up damaging information about his potential 2020 political rival Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden while Ukraine awaits millions of dollars in funds from the U.S.
Pelosi suggested that a major development was afoot in conversation with Atlantic editor Jeffrey Goldberg during the Atlantic Festival earlier on Tuesday. “As soon as we have the facts, we’re ready. Now we have the facts. We’re ready,” she said, according to the Guardian.
Just as the announcement of potential impeachment proceedings came, the New York Times released a report saying that Trump had agreed to release transcripts of the call, which he has referred to as “totally appropriate.” On Twitter, he dismissed the controversy as a witch hunt, writing, “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!”
But Democrats continued urging an investigation—and were able to move the House Speaker. Candidates like Bernie Sanders tweeted, “Donald Trump is the most corrupt president in the modern history of this country. Enough is enough. I hope the Judiciary Committee of the U.S. House will begin the impeachment process.” Elizabeth Warren wrote, “I called for impeachment five months ago, the day after the Mueller report came out. Trump continues to commit crimes because he believes he’s above the law. If Congress does nothing to respond, he’ll be right. We must begin impeachment proceedings—now.”