Hours before Nancy Pelosi announced that Democrats would be launching a formal impeachment hearing against President Donald Trump, the house speaker reportedly had a personal phone call from the president asking if they would “figure this out” regarding the whistleblower complaint.
As MSNBC reported, Trump called Pelosi to seek some kind of agreement regarding the complaint. As reporter Heidi Przybyla noted on Twitter, Trump made the request to Pelosi, drawing a sharp response from the house speaker.
“Tell your people to obey the law,” Pelosi reportedly said in return.
Pelosi announced on Tuesday afternoon that the House would be launching an investigation into reports that Trump pressured Ukraine to dig up dirt on the business dealings of Joe Biden’s son, Hunter. A whistleblower from the intelligence community filed a formal complaint about Trump’s actions, but acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire withheld the complaint from Congress, which critics said was an illegal action meant to protect Donald Trump.
As Politico reported, the White House was preparing to release the complaint to Congress by the end of the week. The report noted that the seriousness with which the White House appears to be taking in response to formal impeachment hearings seems to contrast with the statements Trump himself has made on Twitter declaring “presidential harassment” and calling the inquiry a “witch hunt.”
It was not clear exactly when the complaint could be handed over or what form lawmakers would be given the pertinent documents, the Politico report added. Trump himself has claimed that there was nothing inappropriate about the July 25 phone call with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky that is reportedly a key part of the complaint.
“You will see it was a very friendly and totally appropriate call. No pressure and, unlike Joe Biden and his son, NO quid pro quo! This is nothing more than a continuation of the Greatest and most Destructive Witch Hunt of all time,” Trump tweeted on Tuesday.
There appears to be a movement toward the whistleblower discussing the complaint directly with Congress. As the Associated Press reported, lawyers representing the whistleblower have sought guidance on how they can be protected while meeting with congressional intelligence committees.
186 of 235 House Democrats now support impeachment proceedings against President Trump. pic.twitter.com/mjox69qcKu— MSNBC (@MSNBC) September 24, 2019
In both the lead-up to Pelosi’s impeachment announcement and the hours that followed, a growing number of Democrats in Congress spoke out to express their support of impeachment. It will take a majority of the House of Representatives (218 votes) in order to impeach Donald Trump — currently, there are 235 Democrats in the House. If they pass articles of impeachment, it would then go to the U.S. Senate for trial, with two-thirds needed to vote in favor of impeachment in order to remove Trump from office.