House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on Wednesday reaffirmed her support for an impeachment inquiry following the White House’s release of a transcript of President Donald Trump’s July call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
In a statement, Pelosi accused President Trump of using “taxpayer money to shake down other countries for the benefit of his campaign.”
“Either the President does not know the weight of his words or he does not care about ethics or his constitutional responsibilities,” the speaker added. “The transcript and the Justice Department’s acting in a rogue fashion in being complicit in the President’s lawlessness confirm the need for an impeachment inquiry. Clearly, the Congress must act.”
The transcript, released earlier Wednesday, shows President Trump discussing a corruption inquiry into the business dealings of Hunter Biden, the son of former Vice President and 2020 White House hopeful Joe Biden.
“There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great,” Trump said on the July 25 call, according to the released memo. “Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it… It sounds horrible to me.”
As Breitbart News reported earlier this year, Biden forced out former Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin as he was investigating an energy company called Burisma Holdings, which was paying Biden handsomely as a member of its board. The former vice president even boasted to the Council of Foreign Relations last year that he had threatened to withhold $1 billion in U.S. aid unless the prosecutor was fired. (He did not tell the audience about his son’s role.) Conservatives claim Biden obstructed justice to protect his son — who enriched himself using his father’s prestige.
Democrats have latched on to the request, claiming the president appeared to have threatened to hold back military aide from Ukraine unless it investigated the Biden family.
“The release of the notes of the call by the White House confirms that the President engaged in behavior that undermines the integrity of our elections, the dignity of the office he holds and our national security. The President has tried to make lawlessness a virtue in America and now is exporting it abroad,” said Pelosi.
On Tuesday, President Trump said he asked White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney to withhold the aid from Ukraine roughly one week before he spoke with Ukraine’s leader.
“As far as withholding funds, those funds were paid,” President Trump said ahead of his address before the United Nations General Assembly in New York City. “They were fully paid.”
“I want other countries to put up money. I think it’s unfair that we put up the money,” he added. “Then other people call me. They said, ‘Oh, let it go.’ And I let it go. But we paid the money, the money was paid.”
During a press conference on Tuesday, Pelosi announced that the House of Representatives will move forward with a formal impeachment inquiry in light of the Trump-Zelensky.
“I’m directing our six committees to proceed with their investigations under that umbrella of an impeachment inquiry. The president must be held accountable,” she stated.
President Trump on Tuesday blasted Pelosi’s decision to begin proceedings to oust him from the Oval Office, tweeting: “There has been no President in the history of our country who has been treated so badly as I have.”
“The Democrats are frozen with hatred and fear,” he added. “They get nothing done.”