'He gives us no choice': US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi makes a historic speech as Congress stands on the brink of impeaching Donald Trump
- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi took the floor of the House of Representatives on Wednesday and gave a historic speech as US President Donald Trump stands on the brink of likely impeachment.
- "As Speaker of the House, I solemnly and sadly open up debate on the impeachment of the President of the United States," she said. "He gives us no choice."
- "This is what we are here to talk about today," she said. "A republic, if we can keep it."
- The California Democrat has been the face of the impeachment inquiry into Trump, which centers around his efforts to solicit foreign interference in the 2020 election while leveraging US foreign policy and military aid to Ukraine.
- Pelosi and other top House Democrats, like Reps. Adam Schiff and Jerry Nadler, said Trump's actions corrupted the electoral process and threatened national security.
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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi took the floor of the House of Representatives on Wednesday as the chamber is on the brink of a historic vote that will likely culminate in the impeachment of President Donald Trump.
"As Speaker of the House, I solemnly and sadly open up debate on the impeachment of the President of the United States," she said. "If we do not act now, we would be derelict in our duty."
She added: "It is tragic that the president's reckless actions make impeachment necessary. He gives us no choice."
Pelosi also quoted the Pledge of Allegiance and highlighting Congress' commitment to upholding "the republic, for which it stands."
"This is what we are here to talk about today," she said. "A republic, if we can keep it."
The speaker continued, "No member, regardless of party or politics, comes to Congress to impeach a president. But every one of us, as our first act as a member of Congress, stood on this historic House floor before our beautiful American flag, and raised our hands in this sacred oath."
Addressing Trump's actions, Pelosi said, "It is a matter of fact that the president is an ongoing threat to our national security and the integrity of our elections - the basis of our democracy."
"And the testimony of decorated war heroes, distinguished diplomats, and patriotic career public servants, some of the president's own appointees, over the past weeks have told us this: the president used the power of his public office to obtain an improper personal political benefit at the expense of America's national security," Pelosi added.
She also quoted the late congressman Elijah Cummings, Democrat from Maryland, who said in February, "When we're dancing with the angels the question will be asked, 'In 2019, what did we do to make sure we kept our democracy? Did we stand on the sidelines and say nothing?'"
Pelosi has been the face of the impeachment inquiry into Trump, which centers around his efforts to strongarm Ukraine into interfering in the 2020 election by investigating former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, over baseless allegations of corruption.
The California Democrat announced the impeachment inquiry in September, after Congress released a whistleblower complaint detailing a July 25 phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in which Trump repeatedly pressured Zelensky to probe the Bidens, as well as a bogus conspiracy theory suggesting Ukraine meddled in the 2016 US election.
A cascade of witness testimony since the inquiry launched revealed that the phone call was just one data point in a months-long campaign by Trump and his allies to force Ukraine into acceding to his demands while withholding vital military aid and a White House meeting.
In the wake of these findings, Pelosi and other top House Democrats, like Reps. Adam Schiff and Jerry Nadler, said Trump's actions corrupted the electoral process and threatened national security.
To that end, they unveiled two articles of impeachment against the president; the first charges him with abuse of power, and the second with obstruction of Congress.
Addressing the second article of impeachment on Wednesday, Pelosi said, "When the president's wrongdoing was revealed, he launched an unprecedented, indiscriminate, and categorical campaign of defiance and obstruction. Never before in the history of our nation have we seen a president declare, and act as if, he is above the law."
On Tuesday, Trump sent a wild and misleading letter to Pelosi airing out his grievances and ranting about the Democrats, adding that "more due process" was granted during the Salem witch trials, during which 20 people were executed in the late 1600s.
Pelosi called the letter "really sick."
"I don't have a reaction. It's ridiculous," she told the CNN senior congressional correspondent Manu Raju. "I mean, I haven't fully read it. We've been working. I've seen the essence of it. It's really sick."
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