Pelosi plans to announce formal Trump impeachment inquiry

If news reports that President Donald Trump pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate the son of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden prove to be true, Fox News legal analyst Andrew Napolitano said the commander-in-chief has committed an "act of corruption".

Multiple news organizations reported on Friday that Trump repeatedly asked Zelensky to investigate whether Biden misused his position as vice president under Democratic President Barack Obama to threaten to withhold USA aid unless a prosecutor who was looking into a gas company in which Biden's son was involved was sacked.

This will prove it was a "totally appropriate call", he wrote.

"I am now at the United Nations representing our Country, but have authorized the release tomorrow of the complete, fully declassified and unredacted transcript of my phone conversation with President Zelensky of Ukraine", he tweeted.

"I believe that President Trump is going to blow you away with his willingness to disclose and be transparent about this phone call, because I think he did nothing wrong and he has nothing to hide", Graham said on the Hugh Hewitt radio show.

Trump's announcement followed a wave of condemnation from Democrats about what they called his potential abuse of office.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler has declared that his committee is already conducting impeachment hearings, but the panel has been unable to get many key witnesses and documents from the Trump administration.

The House intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight and Government Reform committees asked for documents two weeks ago. Trump and the White House officials were considering whether to release a transcript of the call, which Trump has both said he would like to do but then said conversations between himself and world leaders should be kept private.

UPDATE: Fine column by Margaret Sullivan of Washington Post on how Trump has conned media, not just Fox News, into buying the Trump con job that the story is about Joe Biden, not him.

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After the letter was sent, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff said the whistleblower's lawyer informed him the official "would like to speak to our committee and has requested guidance" from the acting Director of National Intelligence on his appearance, which could come "as soon as this week".

Biden was expected to address the impeachment issue himself on Tuesday afternoon. The conversation took place at a time when US military aid to Ukraine was being held up.

Trump confirmed Tuesday that he had withheld the aid, but insisted it related to pressuring European countries to put up more to support Kiev.

One question the transcript could answer is what, specifically, Trump said to Zelensky about investigating Biden's son, Hunter, who once sat on the board of a Ukrainian gas company.

Moments before Pelosi spoke, Trump tweeted that he had authorized the release on Wednesday of a transcript of the call.

Calls for impeachment intensified after the latest disclosures, which come on top of multiple congressional investigations into Trump's alleged attempts to collude with Russian Federation, obstruction of justice, and profiteering from his office.

Senior Democrats are still awaiting the White House response to their demands for records on relations with Ukraine and the account of the unnamed intelligence community whistleblower whose complaint led to the allegations against Trump.

He and Atkinson will also brief Senate Intelligence Committee members behind closed doors that same day, a source familiar with the planning told CNN.

Pelosi, Schiff and Democrats say there is no wiggle room in the law and that Maguire must give Congress what he has.

  • Michelle Webb