Pelosi launches formal Trump impeachment inquiry
— Donald Trump is facing an impeachment probe after claims he sought help from a foreign power to target a political rival.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced a formal impeachment inquiry into President Trump, over allegations he pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in a July call to investigate Joe Biden in exchange for the release of $391 million in aid.
The New York Times reports that the call is believed to be the subject of a complaint from a whistleblower in the intelligence community, that the Trump administration has withheld from Congress.
Both Trump and his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani have accused Biden of improperly using his position as vice president to have a Ukrainian prosecutor fired to help his son Hunter, who sat on the board of a Ukraine gas company.
According to the Guardian, there is no evidence to support this claim.
Biden is the current frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination, who Trump will likely face in his bid for re-election.
In her official announcement, Pelosi said the six House committees already investigating Trump will make recommendations to the House Judiciary Committee, which handles impeachment.
Their reports could then form the articles of impeachment against the president.
Said president was quick to respond to the announcement with a volley of tweets, calling the inquiry a "witch hunt" and crying "presidential harassment."
According to the New York Times, the launch of a formal inquiry doesn't necessarily mean the House will vote to charge Trump with "high crimes and misdemeanors."
But it's the likely outcome, given that Democrats hold a majority of seats, and only a simple majority vote is needed to indict.
According to a New York Times survey, the number of House Democrats supporting impeachment is currently at 203 — more than two thirds of the 235-member caucus.
Independent representative Justin Amash from Michigan also favors starting an inquiry, while predictably, no Republican reps have come out as pro-impeachment.
If the House moves forward with a charge, the proceedings move to the Senate for a trial presided over by the Supreme Court Chief Justice, with the Senate acting as jury.
A conviction would require a two-thirds majority, but is unlikely to go through as the Senate is controlled by the Republicans.
But according to Retuers, an impeachment inquiry alone will probably deal significant damage to Trump's image as he vies for re-election.
Already, less than half of Americans approve of his performance as Commander-in-Chief, and even less than that will be with him if public hearings squeeze out some damning information.