On Tuesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced an impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump.
“The actions of the Trump presidency revealed the dishonorable fact of the president’s betrayal of his oath of office, betrayal of our national security, and betrayal of our election,” Pelosi said.
She began her remarks by waxing eloquent on the Constitution. She noted that on Constitution Day, Trump’s acting Director of National Intelligence (DNI) forbade the intelligence community inspector general from turning over a whistleblower complaint regarding a call between Trump and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky.
“This is a violation of law,” Pelosi declared, noting that she served on the House Intelligence Committee for more than 25 years and was on that committee when Congress wrote the whistleblower laws. “The law is unequivocal. The DNI shall provide Congress the full whistleblower complaint.”
After news of the DNI direction, news broke that the whistleblower complaint regarded the call between Trump and Zelensky. In that call, Trump pressured Zelensky to investigate Hunter Biden, the son of former Vice President Joe Biden, the current Democratic frontrunner in the 2020 election.
Pelosi condemned Trump for “calling on a foreign power to intervene in his election,” calling this a “breach of his oath of office.”
She recalled the famous story of the Constitutional Convention in 1787 when a woman asked Benjamin Franklin what form of government had been established. He replied, “A republic, if you can keep it.”
“The actions taken to date by the president has seriously violated the Constitution,” Pelosi said. She acknowledged that impeachment is “a constitutional power of the utmost gravity,” arguing that Trump’s behavior justifies them.
“The president must be held accountable. No one is above the law,” she said.
In July, the president reportedly pressured Zelensky to investigate Joe Biden’s son Hunter in cooperation with Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani. On Tuesday, Trump announced he would release the full transcript of the call, during which he reportedly pressured Zelensky to investigate Hunter Biden no fewer than eight times.
Hunter Biden was a board member of Ukrainian firm Burisma Group when Joe Biden served as secretary of State. During his tenure, Joe Biden pressured Ukraine to fire a prosecutor who was investigating Burisma.
Trump’s call with Zelensky came after he withheld nearly $391 million in military aid to Ukraine, which is fighting a war with Russia in Crimea. Critics have suggested Trump used the funding to pressure Zelensky to help Giuliani’s investigation into Hunter Biden. The source who spoke about the call insisted there was no quid pro quo involved, however.
Furthermore, Trump has claimed he slow walked the funding because other European countries had not contributed to help Ukraine. The money was eventually sent as appropriated by Congress.
Trump’s decision to release the transcript of the call with Zelensky suggests he has no fear the call will strengthen Democrat calls for impeachment.
President Trump denounced the impeachment inquiry as a “total Witch Hunt,” pointing out that Democrats have not even seen the transcript of the call.
They never even saw the transcript of the call. A total Witch Hunt!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 24, 2019
Impeachment has consistently been unpopular in national polls.
Follow Tyler O’Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.