U. S. House to begin impeachment inquiry


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President Donald Trump addresses the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters on Tuesday in New York City. World leaders from across the globe are gathered at the 74th session of the U.N. General Assembly, amid crises ranging from climate change to possible conflict between Iran and the United States.

By Jon Moss, Assistant News Editor

U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Tuesday that the House will begin a formal impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump — the fourth inquiry in the 243-year history of the American government.

The inquiry will act as an umbrella for the six House committees — Oversight and Reform, Ways and Means, Judiciary, Intelligence, Financial Services and Foreign Affairs — currently investigating various allegations of misconduct concerning Trump. The committees will continue their separate investigations, and present possible articles of impeachment to the House Judiciary Committee. The Committee will then collate and vote on a final package of articles, before sending them to the House floor for consideration.

“The President must be held accountable,” Pelosi said. “No one is above the law.”

According to Politico, over 200 House Democrats — and no Republicans — currently support either an inquiry into impeaching Trump or impeaching him directly from office.

Rep. Mike Doyle, D-Pa., announced he was supportive of starting an impeachment inquiry following the June release of the Mueller Report, and added Tuesday that withholding Congressionally directed funds is an impeachable offense.

“If there is evidence that the President has broken the law while conducting foreign affairs, Congress has the obligation to investigate the alleged wrongdoing — and the Administration has no right to withhold the whistle-blower’s report from Congress,” Doyle said. “That the President of the United States would withhold Congressionally directed funds to an ally in need, in order to compel it to smear a political rival, seems to amount to blatant extortion for personal political gain.”

The Tuesday surge of House Democrats calling for the impeachment of Trump came after national newspapers reported on a whistleblower complaint filed by an Intelligence Community employee with Michael Atkinson, the Intelligence Community’s inspector general. The Washington Post reported that the complaint, filed in mid-August, involves a troubling “promise” made between Trump and an unidentified foreign leader.

By law, the IC’s inspector general must notify congressional committees if a complaint is deemed of “urgent concern” — and Atkinson said the complaint met that standard, according to The Washington Post. But Joseph Maguire, the acting director of national intelligence, has blocked the IC’s inspector general from disclosing the complaint to Congress — possibly acting in violation of the law to protect Trump.

The Washington Post reported that Trump directed his staff to withhold Congressionally directed aid to Ukraine in July, several weeks before calling the country’s president, Vladimir Zelensky. In the call, according to The Washington Post, Trump pressured the Ukrainian president to investigate Hunter Biden, the son of former Vice President and current 2020 Democratic candidate Joe Biden.

Pelosi said Acting DNI Maguire is scheduled to testify Thursday, and is framing the hearing as a final chance for him to provide the complaint to Congress, as required by law.

“The law is unequivocal,” Pelosi said.