House will proceed with articles of impeachment against Trump, Pelosi says

Pelosi instructed committee chairmen to draft articles

Speaker Nancy Pelosi announces on the Speakers Balcony in the Capitol on Thursday that she is calling on the House Judiciary Committee to proceed with articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Thursday that she has asked House committee chairmen to draft articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.

“Sadly, but with confidence and humility, with allegiance to our founders and a heart full of love for America, today I'm asking our chairmen to proceed with articles of impeachment,” Pelosi said.

The announcement signals that the Democratic-led House intends to impeach Trump in the coming weeks and that Pelosi is confident Democrats will have the votes they need to pass the articles.

“The president leaves us no choice but to act, because he is trying to corrupt, once again, the election for his own benefit,” Pelosi said

She cited principles set forth by the nation’s founders, echoing law professors who testified Wednesday about the constitutional basis for impeachment.

Pelosi mentioned bribery and abuse of power in her remarks, but did not identify specific articles that the Judiciary Committee will draft and pursue, leaving the number and basis for articles up to committee members.

“The president has engaged in abuse of power undermining our national security and jeopardizing the integrity of our elections. His actions are in defiance of the vision of our founders and the oath of office that he takes to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States,” she said.

Pelosi’s comments come a day after she met with her caucus under tightened access in its weekly meeting — staff was not allowed and members were encouraged not to bring their phones into the room — measures seemingly designed to reduce leaks to the media.

The six committee chairs whose panels have been investigating President Donald Trump will meet today to discuss articles of impeachment, Financial Services Chairwoman Maxine Waters told reporters.

Earlier Thursday morning, Trump urged House Democrats to move quickly on impeachment, if they planned to move ahead, and accused them of “demeaning our country.”

“[N]othing matters to them, they have gone crazy,” Trump said in morning tweets. “Therefore I say, if you are going to impeach me, do it now, fast, so we can have a fair trial in the Senate, and so that our Country can get back to business.”

Trump suggested he would call a lengthy list of witnesses in a Senate trial, including Pelosi, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff, former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden, and “many more.”

Trump’s call to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, in which he appears to try to pressure the Ukrainian leader to investigate the Bidens and other Democrats, is at the heart of the impeachment inquiry.

John T. Bennett and Lindsey McPherson contributed to this report. 

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