Following a weekend of high drama in D.C. over revelations that President Trump may have improperly encouraged a foreign power to investigate his political rival, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced a formal impeachment inquiry today. Let's get this donnybrook started.
Liberals far and wide, including pretty much the entire city of San Francisco wherefrom Pelosi hails, are giddily drumming desktops and high-fiving each other today as the long-awaited impeachment of their dreams becomes a potential reality for Donald Trump. And nearly three years after the man was elected, it seems almost impossible that a smoking gun even Republicans can't deny may have finally presented itself. But maybe it has?!?
Here she is, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Nancy Patricia Pelosi, finally saying the words, "Today I'm announcing the House of Representatives is moving forward with an official impeachment inquiry."
Tune in as I speak live from the U.S. Capitol. https://t.co/j6UMq4TC5u— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) September 24, 2019
"The actions of the Trump presidency revealed the dishonorable fact of the president's betrayal of his oath of office, betrayal of our national security, and betrayal of the integrity of our elections," Pelosi said in the six-minute speech above. "The actions taken to date by the president have seriously violated the Constitution. The president must be held accountable."
Going to be a lot of impeachment babies conceived tonight— Roland Scahill (@rolandscahill) September 24, 2019
As the New York Times is reporting, Pelosi held a private meeting with House Democrats prior to making a formal announcement about the impeachment inquiry from her Capitol Hill office. And, obviously, this does not mean that the House will necessarily decide to charge Trump with any "high crimes," but it's the closest we've come and an historic moment to be sure.
I keep singing “impeachment” like “The Simpsons.”— Louis Peitzman (@LouisPeitzman) September 24, 2019
You likely know all the details at this point, and even Jimmy Fallon was poking fun at Pelosi last night for urging caution despite such an egregious alleged quid pro quo by the president. Basically, Joe Biden's son Hunter is/was on the board of a Ukranian natural gas company called Burisma Holdings. The owner of the company, Mykola Zlochevsky, had been under investigation by the United Kingdom since before Hunter Biden joined the board in 2014. The company was also being investigated by Ukraine's Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin starting in 2015, and Shokin was ultimately fired — though the reasons for his firing were extensive, and he was criticized by many world leaders for failing to prosecute the corruption of the country's elites.
every time he screeches this I picture him clutching the door frame as he’s dragged out https://t.co/wbMZ3IBSG4— shauna (@goldengateblond) September 24, 2019
Trump and his unhinged personal attorney Rudy Giuliani have seized on a narrative, likely promulgated in online conservative circles, that Biden somehow influenced the decision to fire Shokin because he was "investigating his son." At the moment, none of that appears true, but Giuliani had apparently been pushing the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, to investigate the Bidens for several months. Trump is now alleged to have implied that some military funding Zelensky dearly wanted from the U.S. would be coupled with his launching such an investigation.
Earlier today Trump called for the release the transcript of the July phone call he had with Zelensky — though as New York Magazine's resident Trump coverer Jonathan Chait wrote Monday, "Trump 'speaks in code,' as his former fixer, Michael Cohen, testified. He avoids direct corrupt offers, but makes his intentions plain... The code is Trump’s plausible deniability." But Trump himself basically told reporters Monday that he did pressure Zelensky, though not in so many words. As Chait says, "Trump’s decoding is crucial because it removes his mob-boss-like ability to give himself plausible deniability for his threats."
An impeachment inquiry, of course, is just the beginning of a process that currently seems unlikely to remove this sitting president. But this is a good time to brush up on the details of how the impeachment process works.