WASHINGTON — It’s official: President Donald Trump is the subject of a U.S. House impeachment inquiry.
U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., announced earlier this week that the majority-Democrat chamber is moving forward with an “official impeachment inquiry” into the president in the wake of reports that he pressured the Ukrainian president to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, who could be his chief 2020 rival.
“The president must be held accountable; no one is above the law,” Pelosi said after a meeting Tuesday afternoon with the House Democratic caucus.
“The actions taken to date by the president have seriously violated the constitution,” she added. She said she had directed six committee leaders already investigating the president to continue under the framework of a formal impeachment inquiry.
The announcement came after escalating pressure within the Democratic caucus to launch an official impeachment probe, a topic that has divided the caucus so far this year.
Some Democrats have been pushing for impeachment for months, but many moderates and leaders of the party were reluctant to take what could be a politically perilous route for some. But in light of recent reports about Trump pressuring the Ukrainian president, moderate Democrats and leaders said there was no alternative to impeachment proceedings.
According to The New York Times, 180 members of the House backed an impeachment inquiry by Tuesday evening, representing more than two-thirds of the Democratic caucus and one independent lawmaker, Justin Amash from Michigan. Impeachment backers would need 218 votes for the House to approve articles of impeachment.