By Todd Horwitz 

House Launches Impeachment Inquiry

Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the House is launching a formal impeachment inquiry into President Trump, setting up a dramatic constitutional clash just over a year before the presidential election. “Today I’m announcing the House of Representatives is moving forward with an official impeachment inquiry,” Pelosi said at the Capitol late Tuesday afternoon. The inquiry marks just the fourth time in American history a president has faced a viable threat of impeachment.

The speaker has long resisted calls from many progressive lawmakers to initiate impeachment proceedings against the president, but Democrats appear to have reached a breaking point over the administration’s refusal to hand over a whistleblower complaint related to Mr. Trump’s interaction with a foreign leader.

The move is a culmination of what has been a nearly yearlong debate among Democrats about how hard to push for Mr. Trump’s removal from office, particularly since they took control of the House this year. Earlier, Democrats’ focus was on Mr. Trump’s campaign ties to Russia, the subject of a special counsel report earlier this year, among other issues involving the president.

Now, some lawmakers are arguing that the Republican president using his position to pressure a foreign entity to investigate a political opponent for his own gain is an impeachable offense. Mrs. Pelosi’s decision also represents a bet that voters, whom polls have shown to be wary of impeachment, can be persuaded once more facts emerge.

Three House Democratic committee chairmen on Tuesday pressed their case against the White House in light of the new reports about Mr. Trump asking for a delay in aid to Ukraine. Without directly using the word “impeachment,” Mr. Schiff, along with Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D., Md.) and Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel (D., N.Y.) warned that the president’s conduct, as described in news reports, may meet standards that many Democrats see as a bar for determining that Mr. Trump had engaged in behavior that would justify his removal from office.

“If the recent reports are accurate, it means the President raised with a foreign leader pursuing investigations related to a political opponent in an upcoming election. That is the very definition of corrupt abuse of power,” the three chairmen wrote.

Todd “Bubba” Horwitz