After months of dragging her feet to the consternation of many in her caucus, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced a formal impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump today. Pelosi’s plan was initially reported by both NBC News and The Washington Post earlier this afternoon.
Speaking briefly to the press after a caucus meeting with her party, Pelosi outlined a process in which six House committee chairs would pursue their own investigations under the umbrella of a single impeachment inquiry.
“The actions taken to date by the president have seriously violated the Constitution,” she said. “The president must be held accountable. Nobody is above the law.”
Trump responded to Pelosi’s remarks with his signature aptitude for dignity and restraint:
Still, the fact that Pelosi is finally moving ahead with an impeachment inquiry at all marks a turning point in what has been a long-running stalemate in the party over how best to respond to the president’s persistent lawlessness.
Pelosi’s announcement comes after a stampede of House Democrats jumping on the impeachment bandwagon after reports that President Donald Trump attempted to pressure Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky into opening a bogus investigation into former vice president—and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate—Joe Biden’s son, Hunter. Trump has denied any wrongdoing, but today confirmed a key aspect of the reporting: that he withheld military aid to Ukraine ahead of a phone call with the Ukrainian president.
Earlier on Tuesday, Georgia Rep. John Lewis threw his weight behind impeachment proceedings, arguing on the House floor that “to delay or do otherwise would betray the foundation of our democracy.”
Update, 5:21 p.m. ET: The text of this story has been updated throughout to add Pelosi’s remarks.