House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said today that President Trump’s wrongdoing strikes at the heart of the Constitution and asked House committee chairs to proceed with articles of impeachment, saying lawmakers have “no choice but to act.”

Her address, in which she invoked principles espoused by the nation’s founders, came shortly after Trump went on Twitter to urge House Democrats to impeach him quickly, if they plan to do it, and suggested that he would call an expansive list of witnesses during a trial in the Republican-led Senate.

At the heart of the Democrats’ case is the allegation that Trump tried to leverage a White House meeting and military aid, sought by Ukraine in the face of Russian military aggression, to pressure President Volodymyr Zelensky to launch an investigation of former vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden, as well as a probe of an unfounded theory that Kyiv conspired with Democrats to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.

House Democrats are considering articles of impeachment against Trump that include obstruction and bribery, but are unlikely to pursue a treason charge as they weigh how to illustrate that the president’s activities involving Ukraine were part of what they see as a pattern of misconduct, according to congressional aides.

Democratic members of the Judiciary Committee and the Intelligence Committee, which this week released a report of their findings from a two-month-long impeachment investigation, have said that they believe Trump’s actions vis-a-vis Ukraine meet the definition of bribery, one of the crimes the Constitution identifies specifically as an impeachable offense.

Central to the Intelligence Committee’s findings is that Trump compromised U.S. national security when he held back diplomatic engagement and congressionally approved military aid from Kyiv, until Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky committed to publicly announce he was launching investigations into a debunked conspiracy theory surrounding a hacked Democratic National Committee server and of the son of former vice president Joe Biden, currently running to replace Trump in 2020.

In an exchange with reporters in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Trump said he is “not at all” worried that impeachment could hurt his legacy as president.

“It’s a hoax. It’s a hoax. It’s a big, fat hoax,” he said in the exchange, which came during a meeting with United Nations representatives from various countries.

Pelosi’s political Twitter account tweeted a post Thursday comparing Trump and former president Richard M. Nixon and suggesting that Republicans who continue to back the president need to be voted out of office.

In the black-and-white image tweeted by the account, both Nixon and Trump are looking downward. The words “I did nothing wrong” are shown next to Trump, while Nixon’s famous “I am not a crook” line is shown next to the former president’s scowling face.

“We take an oath to defend our Constitution — not the president,” the tweet reads. “If Republicans in Washington don’t #DefendOurDemocracy by holding him accountable — they need to go, right along with him!”

Attribution:The Washington Post
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