By Ian Krietzberg
After months of caution, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced a formal impeachment inquiry towards President Donald Trump on Sept. 24, following the release of a whistleblower complaint to Congress, according to CNN.
The complaint concerns a phone call between Trump and Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky on July 25, according to CBS News.
On Sept. 25, the White House released the phone conversation’s memorandum, in which Trump asked Zelensky to speak with his personal lawyer, former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, and Attorney General William Barr.
The purpose was to “find out what happened with … Crowdstrike,” according to the released document, published by The New York Times. The president additionally asked Zelenksy to open an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden — who leads the Democratic race for the 2020 election — and his son, Hunter.
Before speaking with Zelensky, Trump blocked almost $400 million in military aid to Ukraine, which was later cleared for release on Sept. 11, according to a timeline by BBC.
This release of military aid came more than a month after the phone call in which Zelensky promised that his prosecutor general would “look into the situation, specifically the company that [Trump] mentioned in this issue,” according to the memo of the phone call.
“The times have found us,” Pelosi said in a tweet on Sept. 24 that includes a video of her speech live from the Capitol. “The actions taken to date by the President have seriously violated the Constitution. It is for this reason that the House of Representatives is moving forward with an official impeachment inquiry.”
In the days since Pelosi made her official announcement, Trump has taken to Twitter, loading his timeline with a variety of retweets and original content culminating in a tweet on Thursday, Sept. 26.
“A whistleblower with second hand information?” he tweeted. “Another Fake News Story! See what was said on the very nice, no pressure, call. Another Witch Hunt!”
The unclassified version of the whistleblower document, which The New York Times released on Thursday, Sept. 26, has reports of the whistleblower, who remains an anonymous intelligence officer, speaking out against the president.
“In the course of my official duties, I have received information from multiple U.S. Government officials that the President of the United States is using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 U.S. election,” the whistleblower said.
In that same document, the officer cited several areas of concern, including the July phone call, circumstances that led to the call and efforts to hide records of the conversation.
In this document, the officer explains that Trump “pressured” Zelensky to begin an investigation into Biden and his son to work to uncover the truth behind allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 election and finally to speak with Barr and Giuliani.
The document also detailed that White House lawyers “directed” White House officials to “remove the electronic transcript” of the call, and place it instead in a system used to store classified information, despite the fact that “the call did not contain anything remotely sensitive from a national security perspective.”
According to CNN, at a hearing before the House Intelligence Committee on Thursday, Sept. 26, acting U.S. Spy Chief Joseph Maguire said the the “whistleblower acted right in an “‘unprecedented’” situation.