The United States House of Representatives will commence impeachment proceedings against the US President, Donald Trump, Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, announced on Tuesday.
Pelosi made the announcement at a press conference in Washington, the US capital, after reports emerged of President Trump allegedly pressuring Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden, his likely rival from the Democratic Party for the 2020 US presidential election.
“Therefore, I am announcing today that the House of Representatives is launching a formal impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump,” the US House Speaker announced.
Pelosi stated that the US President’s action constituted a “breach of his constitutional responsibility”, adding that he undermined the country’s national security and intelligence services.
She added: “This week the president has admitted to asking the president of Ukraine to take action that would benefit him politically,” she said, insisting that President Trump “must be held accountable.”
The decision by Pelosi, who had previously rejected calls impeachment proceedings against the US President, comes after growing demands from members of her party.
Last week, media reports said US intelligence officials had complained to a government watchdog about President Trump’s interactions with a foreign leader, who was later revealed to be the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky.
That whistleblower’s complaint – which was deemed “urgent” and credible by the intelligence inspector general – has been demanded by Democrats in Congress, but the White House and Department of Justice have refused to provide it.
President Trump has denied impropriety but acknowledged discussing his political rival Joe Biden with the Ukrainian president.
Reacting immediately after Pelosi’s announcement, the US President in a series of posts on Twitter berated the Democrats over the decision to “witchhunt” him.
He noted that the timing of the announcement was an attempt by the Democrats to humiliate him as world leaders converge at the United Nations, located in the US city of New York, for the 74th General Assembly.
“Such an important day at the United Nations, so much work and so much success, and the Democrats purposely had to ruin and demean it with more breaking news Witch Hunt garbage. So bad for our Country!” President Trump tweeted.
He wondered how the House arrived at such a decision without viewing the transcript of the call, further describing the impeachment proceedings as “PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT!”
The US President had earlier in a tweet on Tuesday promised that an “unredacted” transcript of a call to President Zelensky will be released on Wednesday.
He also denied the allegation that he was withholding aid to Ukraine as a tactic to pressurise the country to investigate the Bidens, saying he only wanted Europe to step up assistance to the Eastern European country.
Biden, the man at the centre of the matter, has also backed impeachment proceedings unless the US president complies with investigations.
Impeaching President Trump “would be a tragedy”, Biden said, adding that “But a tragedy of his making.”
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