Change of Heart: Pelosi Sets House on Road to Impeachment [Updated]
On Tuesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) admitted her plans to put a resolution on the House floor Wednesday to investigate President Donald Trump's Ukraine scandal, a process that will likely grow into an impeachment inquiry as Democrat demands for impeachment grow ever more insistent.
"Confirmed: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi planning to put a resolution on the House floor tomorrow to address the Ukraine issue as there are increasing calls by Democrats to start the impeachment process for President Trump," PBS White House Correspondent Yamiche Alcindor tweeted.
In an interview with CNN Monday night, Pelosi declined to say whether or not she would fully endorse an impeachment inquiry, but she suggested a move toward impeachment proceedings was certain. "We will have no choice," she said.
The renewed push for impeachment gained steam following reports that President Trump pressured Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Joe Biden's son Hunter in cooperation with the president'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.
Pelosi had long refrained from engaging in any impeachment discussions. Her decision to push this resolution may suggest the speaker will no longer be the voice of reason and restraint on impeachment in her party. Democrats might just leap down the rabbit hole.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) reiterated her call for impeachment from April.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) piled on. "We appear to have a president who may have used funds designed to protect the security of the United States as a means to gain political dirt on an opponent. We need to begin the impeachment process immediately," he tweeted.
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. In any case, Wednesday will be a watershed day in Washington.
Update 4:00 p.m. EST: Pelosi is expected to announce a formal impeachment inquiry at 5 p.m. Eastern.
Follow Tyler O'Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.