Invoking the concerns of the Founding Fathers about foreign interference in U.S. elections, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced on Thursday that she was authorizing the House Judiciary Committee to draw up impeachment articles against President Donald Trump, possibly paving the way for a full House vote on impeachment by Christmas.
"In America, no one is above the law," the Speaker said in a statement to reporters outside her office in the U.S. Capitol.
A day after a closed door meeting with fellow Democrats, the Speaker said Congress could not close its eyes to the evidence gathered so far about the President's actions related to Ukraine.
"The facts are uncontested. The President abused his power for his own personal political benefit," Pelosi said, as Democrats charge Mr. Trump withheld military aid for Ukraine in an effort to force the government to announce investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, as well as a debunked conspiracy theory that Ukraine - and not Russia - had hacked Democrats in the 2016 campaign.
At the White House, the reaction was one of condemnation.
"They have no Impeachment case and are demeaning our Country," President Trump tweeted about Democrats shortly before the Speaker's announcement.
"But nothing matters to them, they have gone crazy. Therefore I say, 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," Mr. Trump added.
The White House Press Secretary echoed the President's sentiments on Twitter.
While Pelosi did not set out a timeline for action, top Democrats have talked about action in the next week by the House Judiciary Committee, followed by a vote in the full House later this month.
21 years ago, Republicans faced a similar time crunch before the holidays, and ended up voting to impeach President Clinton on the Saturday before Christmas.
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