US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has announced that the House of Representatives is moving forward to draft articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.
In a statement on the inquiry, Ms Pelosi detailed the allegations against Mr Trump, arguing that he “abused his power for his own personal political benefit at the expense of our national security.”
Ms Pelosi delivered the historic announcement as Democrats push toward a vote, possibly by Christmas.
She said she was authorising the drafting of articles of impeachment “sadly but with confidence and humility”.
“The president’s actions have seriously violated the Constitution,” Ms Pelosi said.
It follows yesterday’s hearing where the House Judiciary Committee began considering potential charges against the Republican president.
At the heart of the impeachment probe is a July call with the president of Ukraine, in which Mr Trump pressed the leader to investigate Democrats as Mr Trump was withholding aid to the country.
Three out of four witnesses in the inquiry have argued that Mr Trump has committed impeachable offences, including pressuring Ukraine to investigate the Biden family.
All three were called by the Democrats on the committee, while the fourth was a Republican witness and said impeachment was not warranted.
— ABC News (@ABC) December 5, 2019
Ms Pelosi’s announcement indicates that the evidence gathered has given the Democrats the confidence to move forward with a vote on Mr Trump’s impeachment.
No timetable was given for the next steps of the process.
“Our democracy is what is at stake,” Ms Pelosi said. “The president leaves us no choice but to act, because he is trying to corrupt, once again, the election for his own benefit.
“The president has engaged in abuse of power, undermining our national security and jeopardising the integrity of our elections.”
In a tweet this morning, Mr Trump urged the Democrats to impeach him “fast”.
…..trial in the Senate, and so that our Country can get back to business. We will have Schiff, the Bidens, Pelosi and many more testify, and will reveal, for the first time, how corrupt our system really is. I was elected to “Clean the Swamp,” and that’s what I am doing!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 5, 2019
And reacting to Ms Pelosi’s statement, Mr Trump’s press secretary Stephanie Grisham tweeted: “@SpeakerPelosi & the Democrats should be ashamed. @realDonaldTrump has done nothing but lead our country – resulting in a booming economy, more jobs & a stronger military, to name just a few of his major accomplishments. We look forward to a fair trial in the Senate.”
Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee earlier this week released a 300-page report on the President’s conduct, claiming he had used his powers of office to solicit foreign interference in the upcoming 2020 election.
A separate report, produced by the Republicans, said Mr Trump had not done anything wrong.