Nancy Pelosi okays drafting of impeachment articles against Donald Trump

The U.S. House Speaker’s announcement comes two months after she opened the inquiry into whether the President abused his oath of office.

Updated - December 06, 2019 01:03 am IST

Published - December 05, 2019 08:19 pm IST - WASHINGTON

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi making the announcement at the Capitol in Washington on Thursday.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi making the announcement at the Capitol in Washington on Thursday.

Saying she had “no choice but to act”, U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday told the press that she is asking the heads of House Committees to draft articles of impeachment against U.S. President Donald Trump. This could mean the House will vote on whether or not to impeach Mr. Trump no later than December 20, the last working day for the U.S. Congress this year.

Ms. Pelosi’s comments come over two months after she announced an impeachment inquiry into Mr. Trump that were centred around whether he had abused his oath of office in his dealings with Ukraine. That inquiry, led by House Intelligence Committee Democrats, concluded earlier this week that the President had abused his office and also made “unprecedented efforts” to obstruct the inquiry.

Mr. Trump’s actions were “in defiance of the vision” of the founders and his oath of office, Ms. Pelosi said.

The founders specifically feared the prospects of a “King President”, who had been corrupted by foreign influence, she said, and that if the President is allowed to be above law, it is at the peril of the republic.

Ms. Pelosi said that Mr. Trump had abused his power for his own personal benefit at the expense of the U.S.’s national security by withholding military aid [to Ukraine] and a crucial Oval Office meeting [with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenksy] in exchange for an announcement of investigations into his political rival [former Vice-President Joe Biden and his son].

“But with confidence and humility, with allegiance to our founders and a heart full of love for America, today, I am asking our chairmen to proceed with articles of impeachment,” Ms. Pelosi said during an address outside her office.

Asked by a reporter, as she was walking away after her remarks if she hated the President, Ms. Pelosi shot back, “I don’t hate anybody.”

“Don’t mess with me when it comes to words like that,” she said after she walked back to the microphones.

Republican reaction

“It was not new news. They always had this pre-written timeline from the day they got sworn in,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said at his weekly press briefing and after Ms. Pelosi’s briefing. “It’s not a day history will be proud of,” he said.

The House Judiciary Committee, which has now taken over the impeachment inquiry from the Intelligence Committee, will hear from lawyers for the Democrat majority on the Intelligence and Judiciary Committees on Monday, as they present evidence in the impeachment case.

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