House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has formally announced the initiation of an impeachment inquiry against President Trump. The inquiry is focused on the president’s decision to withhold aid from Ukraine, allegedly for the purpose of pressuring the nation to investigate Joe Biden’s son. The Trump Administration’s decision to withhold the whistleblower report that kicked off the Ukraine scandal also figured prominently in the decision to launch an impeachment inquiry.
“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 the integrity of our elections,” Pelosi said in a speech reported by CNN. “Therefore, today, I am announcing the House of Representatives moving forward with an official impeachment inquiry.”
The move does not guarantee an impeachment vote on Trump’s actions but opens an investigation into whether impeachment is warranted. The inquiry will give Democrats another weapon with which to seek information from the Trump Administration, which has stonewalled congressional requests on a number of subjects.
Earlier today, the president authorized the release of the unredacted transcript of his telephone call with Ukrainian President Zelensky but has so far continued to block the release of the full whistleblower complaint. The transcript, which shows only part of the picture that is apparently painted by the complaint, is due to be released tomorrow.
This afternoon, the Senate also voted by unanimous consent to call for the release of the full whistleblower complaint to Congress. No Republican senators objected to the resolution.
Pelosi had resisted Democratic calls for impeachment for nearly a year but, with President Trump’s admission that he withheld aid from Ukraine prior to asking for an investigation of Hunter Biden, more than half of Pelosi’s House Democratic caucus had signed on in support of impeachment.
Joe Biden, whose activities figure prominently in the Ukraine scandal, said in a speech today that “Congress should demand the information that it has a legal right to receive. If the president does not comply with such a request from the Congress, if he continues to obstruct Congress and flout the law, Donald Trump will leave Congress, in my view, no choice but to initiate impeachment.”
As the impeachment inquiry proceeds, Biden’s actions as vice president, as well as the business activities of his son, will be closely scrutinized as well. If the Bidens acted improperly, this will undoubtedly also come to light.
For his part, President Trump does not appear worried about the impeachment threat. When asked by reporters how seriously he was taking the developments, Trump glibly answered, “Not at all.”