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Pelosi: House Will Proceed With Articles of Impeachment

For the fourth time in American history, a president will face formal impeachment proceedings. The speaker said she must act to stop Trump from behaving like a king.

Jackie KucinichDec. 05, 2019 9:14 AM ET

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) announced Thursday that the House would proceed with the articles of impeachment against Donald Trump, setting the stage for the fourth time in American history a president would face that judgment. 

“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,” Pelosi  said.

“Sadly, but with confidence and humility, with allegiance to our Founders and a heart full of love for America, today I am asking our chairman to proceed with articles of impeachment.” 

In a statement laden with references to the Founding Fathers and their intentions when crafting the Constitution, Pelosi focused on the checks they put in place to ensure a president could not operate as a king or use his office to pursue re-election by any means necessary. 

“If we allow a president to be above the law, we do so surely at the peril of our republic,” she said. “In America, no one is above the law.” 

Pelosi said by withholding foreign aid from Ukraine in order to pressure it to launch an investigation into a domestic political opponent, President Trump committed a “profound violation of the public trust.” 

“The president’s actions have seriously violated the Constitution, especially when he says and acts upon the belief ‘Article 2 says I can do whatever I want,’” she said. “No.”

Her words come after several weeks of intense hearings in the House Intelligence Committee in which current and former administration officials testified about events this year surrounding Trump’s efforts to withhold political and military support from Ukraine until then-newly elected President Volodymyr Zelensky agreed to announce potentially damaging investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter. On Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing with four constitutional law scholars, three of whom said the president’s actions were impeachable offenses.

On Tuesday, the intelligence panel Democrats released a 300-page report laying out their case against the president, both through those witness testimonies as well as what the White House chose to withhold from congressional investigators. The president was “the author of his own impeachment inquiry,” the report declared. The report was later adopted by the committee in a party-line vote and could be presented to the House Judiciary Committee, where the articles of impeachment will ultimately be crafted, as soon as next week. 

The Trump campaign was swift to respond to Pelosi’s announcement, charging that Democrats were trying to take the decision of choosing the president away from the American people just months before the 2020 election. 

“But impeaching the president has always been their goal, so they should just get on with it so we can have a fair trial in the Senate and expose The Swamp for what it is,” said Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale, in a statement.