(EnviroNews Politics Desk) — Washington DC — On September 24, 2019, NBC News reported that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is expected to announce the opening of a formal impeachment inquiry into President Donald J. Trump later today at a press conference scheduled for 5 pm EST at the Capitol. MSNBC’s Katy Tur made the announcement on television at 2:47 pm EST during an interview with Democratic presidential candidate and impeachment champion Tom Steyer. NBC broke the news based on “two sources close” to the Speaker.
To the extreme frustration of many on the left, Pelosi had been holding strong to a position of not impeaching, but has reportedly changed her position after new allegations were levied against the President last week.
Pelosi’s press conference will come directly after a caucus meeting with Democratic committee chiefs, whereafter sources say she will officially join the ever-growing chorus of House Democrats calling for Trump’s impeachment.
In the 1:00-200 pm hour on MSNBC’s Velshi and Ruhle today, the hosts noted that support for impeachment by House Democrats had grown from 163 to 167 members just during their show.
The straw that broke the came’s back for Pelosi and so many other Democrats?: the revelation by a whistleblower of a call between President Donald Trump and newly elected Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on July 25, 2019 — the day after former Special Council Robert Mueller testified to Congress.
Trump initially denied the call took place, but has since admitted that it did and has said he plans to turn over the transcripts. Watergate prosecutors have already weighed in across the media, opining those transcripts should not be trusted, remembering fraud and discrepancies between tapes and documents when President Richard Nixon turned over doctored transcripts to Congress. They say the whistleblower complaint should be more heavily relied upon to determine potential wrongdoing instead.
In the phone call, the whistleblower claims Trump pressured Zelensky to dig up dirt on Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden over business dealings in Ukraine. Adding gasoline to the fire, it was then reported that Trump ordered Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney to withhold $400 million in military aid to Ukraine just a few days before the call took place, creating the appearance of an extortionate attempt to strong-arm Ukraine into investigating a Trump political opponent.
Democrats have been calling foul ever since news of the whistleblower surfaced, accusing the President for outright corruption and abuse of the Oval Office. After the news surfaced, Trump blocked Department of National Intelligence Inspector General (IG) Michael K. Atkinson from delivering the complaint to Congress as is required by law, adding the cherry-on-top in a long chain of actions to block congressional oversight.
Signs were telegraphing the Speaker was leaning toward impeachment after several long-time congressional allies came out in favor or starting impeachment inquires today, namely legendary legislator and civil rights leader John Lewis who said this on the House floor:
At every turn this administration demonstrates disdain and disregard for the law and for the constitution. They have lied under oath. They refuse to account for their action and appear before the legislative body who have the constitutional right to inquire about their activities.
The people have a right to inquire. They have a right to know. The people have a right to know whether they can put their faith and trust in the outcome of our election. They have a right to know whether the cornerstone of our democracy was undermined by people sitting in the White House today. They have a right to know whether a foreign power were asked to intervene in the 2020 election. They have a right to know whether the President is using his office to line his pockets.
Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) also came out in support of impeachment today writing this:
It is now my belief that the House of Representatives must begin an impeachment inquiry into the President’s corrupt efforts to press a foreign nation into the service of his reelection campaign. As part of the inquiry, the House should take steps to assure that the pending whistleblower complaint be presented to Congress in full, and an investigation must take place into the full extent of the Trump Administration’s demands that the Ukrainian government become agents of the President’s political agenda. If, as it appears Mr. Trump has already acknowledged, the President violated his oath of office by using the constitutional powers entrusted to him to try to destroy a political rival, then the President must be impeached.
Adding to the list of prominent Democrats coming out for impeachment over the past few days, Senator Richard Blumenthal, only two hours after Murphy’s announcement, said this:
His seeking corrupt assistance from a foreign leader for personal political gain crosses the line. His most recent lawbreaking follows three years of contemptuous disregard for the Constitution. The Congress must demand accountability. The values and norms of our democracy are precious and vulnerable and they depend on people fighting for them in times of adversity. At this moment, the threat to the rule of law and our democracy has reached a new height and requires all of us to step forward.
Also in breaking news today, Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA), Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, announced today that the whistleblower has asked to speak before the committee. If that testimony is to happen, it must first be approved by the current Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire, who sits at the helm of the Department after Dan Coats stepped down last month.
We have been informed by the whistleblower’s counsel that their client would like to speak to our committee and has requested guidance from the Acting DNI as to how to do so.
We‘re in touch with counsel and look forward to the whistleblower’s testimony as soon as this week.
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) September 24, 2019