Nancy Pelosi Announces Formal Impeachment Inquiry of Trump
WASHINGTON — Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced on Tuesday that the House would begin a formal impeachment inquiry of President Trump, saying that he had betrayed his oath of office and the nation’s security in seeking to enlist a foreign power for his own political gain.
“The actions taken to date by the president have seriously violated the Constitution,” she said after emerging from a meeting of House Democrats in the basement of the Capitol. Mr. Trump, she said, “must be held accountable — no one is above the law.”
The announcement was a stunning development that unfolded after months of caution by House Democrats, who have been divided over using the ultimate remedy to address what they have called flagrant misconduct by the president. It ushered in the beginning of a remarkable new chapter in American political life, with the potential to cleave an already divided nation, reshape Mr. Trump’s presidency and the country’s politics, and create heavy risks both for him and for the Democrats who have decided to weigh his removal. Mr. Trump could become only the fourth president in American history to face impeachment. Presidents Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton were both impeached but later acquitted by the Senate. President Richard M. Nixon resigned in the face of a looming House impeachment vote.
這番表態是眾議院民主黨人數月來謹言慎行之后的一個驚人轉變，對于是否使用這一終極補救措施應對他們所謂總統明目張膽的不當行為，民主黨一直存在分歧。此舉開啟了美國政治生活一個非同尋常的新篇章，可能會割裂一個分歧深重的國家，重塑特朗普的總統任期和這個國家的政治，并給總統及決定權衡是否讓他下臺的民主黨人帶來重重風險。特朗普可能成為美國現代史上第四位面臨彈劾的總統。此前安德魯·約翰遜(Andrew Johnson)和比爾·克林頓(Bill Clinton)都曾遭到彈劾，但被參議院宣判無罪。理查德·M·尼克松(Richard M. Nixon)在眾議院舉行彈劾表決前辭職。
At issue are allegations that Mr. Trump pressured the president of Ukraine to open a corruption investigation of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., a leading contender for the Democratic presidential nomination, and his son. The conversation is said to be part of a whistle-blower complaint that the Trump administration has withheld from Congress.
有指控稱，特朗普向烏克蘭總統施壓，對民主黨總統提名的主要競爭者、前副總統小約瑟夫·R·拜登(Joseph R. Biden Jr.)和他的兒子展開貪腐調查。談話內容據信是特朗普政府向國會隱瞞的一個舉報的一部分。
Mr. Trump said on Tuesday that he would authorize the release of a transcript of the conversation, practically daring Democrats to try to find an impeachable offense in a conversation that he has called “perfect.” But Democrats, after months of holding back, demanded the full whistle-blower complaint, even as they pushed toward an expansive impeachment inquiry that could encompass unrelated charges.
“The actions of the Trump presidency revealed dishonorable facts of the president’s betrayal of his oath of office, betrayal of our national security and betrayal of the integrity of our elections,” Ms. Pelosi said.
The president, in New York for several days of international diplomacy at the United Nations, issued a defiant response on Twitter, in a series of fuming posts that culminated with a simple phrase: “PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT!”
“Such an important day at the United Nations, so much work and so much success, and the Democrats purposely had to ruin and demean it with more breaking news Witch Hunt garbage,” Mr. Trump wrote. “So bad for our Country!
Ms. Pelosi said she had directed the chairmen of the six committees that have been investigating Mr. Trump to “proceed under that umbrella of impeachment inquiry.” In a closed-door meeting earlier in the day, she said the panels would put together their best cases on potentially impeachable offenses by the president and send them to the Judiciary Committee, according to two officials familiar with the conversation. That could potentially lay the groundwork for articles of impeachment based on the findings.
The decision to begin a formal impeachment inquiry does not necessarily mean that the House will ultimately vote to charge Mr. Trump with high crimes and misdemeanors — much less that the Republican-controlled Senate will vote to remove him. But Ms. Pelosi and her leadership would not initiate the process unless they were prepared to reach that outcome.
Ms. Pelosi met privately on Tuesday with the leaders of the six key committees involved in investigations of Mr. Trump, and later huddled with the full Democratic caucus. Her announcement came amid a groundswell in favor of impeachment among Democrats that has intensified since late last week, with lawmakers from every corner of her caucus lining up in favor of using the House’s unique power to charge Mr. Trump if the allegations are proved true, or if his administration continues to stonewall attempts by Congress to investigate them.
The House Judiciary Committee has been conducting its own impeachment investigation focused on the findings of the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, as well as allegations that Mr. Trump may be illegally profiting from spending by state and foreign governments and other matters. But that inquiry has never gotten the imprimatur of a full House vote or the full rhetorical backing of the speaker, as Democrats remained divided about the wisdom and political implications of impeaching a president without broader public support.
眾議院司法委員一直在進行自己的彈劾調查，他們關注的重點是特別檢察官羅伯特·S·穆勒三世(Robert S. Mueller III)的調查結果，以及特朗普可能從州政府和外國政府的支出及其他事項中非法受益的指控。但這項調查從未獲得眾議院全體投票的批準，也從未得到這位議長的口頭全力支持，因為民主黨對于缺乏廣泛公眾支持的情況下彈劾總統是否明智，以及它所帶來的政治影響，仍然存在分歧。
Now, after the revelation of a conversations between Mr. Trump and President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine in which Mr. Trump pressed the foreign leader to investigate the Bidens, a cascading flood of Democrats has come out in favor of a formal impeachment proceeding.
The shift in outlook among Democratic lawmakers has been rapid, and could yet still turn away from impeachment if exculpatory evidence comes to light. The developments that have turned the tide began less that two weeks ago, when Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, the Intelligence Committee chairman, first revealed the existence of a secret whistle-blower complaint that the intelligence community’s internal watchdog had deemed “urgent” and credible but that the Trump administration had refused to share with Congress.
民主黨議員對前景展望的轉變向來是很快的，如果有脫罪證據出現，他們仍有可能放棄彈劾。扭轉乾坤的事態發展始于不到兩周前，當時，情報委員會主席、加州眾議員亞當·B·希夫(Adam B. Schiff)首先披露，目前存在一個情報部門的內部監督機構認為“緊急”和可信的秘密檢舉，但特朗普政府拒絕與國會分享。
Democrats have given Joseph Maguire, the acting director of national intelligence, until Thursday to turn over the whistle-blower complaint or risk reprisal. And they have threatened to subpoena the Trump administration for a copy of the transcript of the president’s call with Mr. Zelensky and other relevant documents after Thursday if they are not shared voluntarily.
There were also indications the whistle-blower might not wait around for the complaint to be disclosed. Democrats said on Tuesday that a lawyer for the whistle-blower had informed the committee his client wanted to speak with the House and Senate intelligence panels, and had requested directions from the office of the director of national intelligence on how to do so.
Though it has attracted much less fanfare, the Senate Intelligence Committee intends to meet privately with the inspector general and Mr. Maguire this week to discuss the whistle-blower complaint.