WASHINGTON — Speaker Nancy Pelosi asked the House of Representatives on Thursday to begin drafting impeachment articles against President Trump, pushing ahead with a rapid timetable that could set the stage for a deeply partisan vote before Christmas to charge him with high crimes and misdemeanors.
Ms. Pelosi’s hastily scheduled announcement came a day after the House Judiciary Committee began formal impeachment proceedings against Mr. Trump, convening a hearing where three constitutional scholars invited by Democrats said Mr. Trump had engaged in conduct that clearly met the definition of impeachable offenses under the Constitution.
The decision follows a two-monthlong investigation by Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee that concluded that Mr. Trump abused his power by pressuring President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine to announce investigations into former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and other Democrats, while withholding a White House meeting and $391 million in vital military assistance.
“The facts are uncontested,” Ms. Pelosi said. “The president abused his power for his own personal political benefit, at the expense of our national security.”
“His wrongdoing strikes at the very heart of our Constitution,” she added. “Sadly, but with confidence and humility, with allegiance to our founders and a heart full of love for America, today I am asking our chairman to proceed with articles of impeachment.”
Returning to the ceremonial speaker’s hallway where she first announced that Democrats were launching the inquiry in late September, Ms. Pelosi sent a clear signal that she was confident they would have the votes they needed to impeach Mr. Trump. The proceedings will play out amid profound partisan divisions, with Democrats pressing forward amid intense Republican opposition.
Before her announcement, Mr. Trump seemed to welcome the coming fight, calling Democrats “crazy” in a pair of tweets that urged them to get the process over with quickly so he could defend himself in the Senate, which is controlled by Republicans.
“If you are going to impeach me, do it now, fast, so we can have a fair trial in the Senate, and so that our Country can get back to business,” he wrote.
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