House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announces formal impeachment inquiry

The House Speaker announced on Tuesday she was moving forward with a formal impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.
15:28 | 09/24/19

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Transcript for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announces formal impeachment inquiry
George Stephanopoulos. Good afternoon coming on the air right now with a major breaking news from Capitol Hill the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has decided. To open a formal impeachment inquiry into president trump she just met. With their fellow Democrats in the house and she has made that dramatic shift to decide to open formal impeachment inquiry of president trumpet comes in the wake. A president trumps confirmation. That he withheld military aid from Ukraine about a week before a July 25 phone call with the Ukrainian president. Where is reported to have encouraged Ukrainian president to investigate Joseph Biden and his son hunter who had business interest in the Ukraine. This has been a tipping point for Democrats and now the house speaker. Who has been reluctant in the wake of the mullah report to move forward on impeachment proceedings against president trump the feels that this is an abuse of power. That requires an impeachment inquiry in here would Jon Karl. Our chief White House correspondent well one of the things we've seen in the wake of these reports about president trump. And his phone call with the Ukrainian president Democrats who had been reluctant as well like the speaker coming foreign saying. It's time the dam broke George did this really came down to those Democrats that one Nancy Pelosi her majority Democrats from districts that voted for Donald Trump they have been reluctant. To move forward on impeachment. Once this Ukraine story came out and once you heard the admission directly from the president that he brought up Joseph Biden it is a call with the president of Ukraine. Those Democrats many of them said they wanted to see impeachment. Act for all just one day after Robert Muller's testimony. On Capitol Hill the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Good afternoon. Last Tuesday we observe the anniversary at the adoption of the constitution. On September 17. Shadley on that day. The intelligence community ex inspector general formally notified the congress that the administration was forbidding him. From coming over and whistle blower complaint. On constitution day. This is a violation of law. Shortly thereafter press reports began to break of a phone call by the president of the United States calling upon a foreign power to intervene. In his election. This is a breach of his constitutional responsibility. The facts are the east the intelligence community inspector general who was appointed by president trump. Determined that the complaints is both of urgent concern. And credible. And its disclosure he went on to say. Relates to one of the most significant importance of the Director of National Intelligence its responsibility. To the American people. On Thursday. The inspector general testified before the House Intelligence Committee stating. That the acting Director of National Intelligence box him from disclosing the whistle blower complaint. This is a violation of law the law is unequivocal. The DN ranks staff for which it is says the DN ID NIH director of national telling shell. Provide congress the full whistle blower complaint. From one in 25 years essay on the intelligence committee as a member. As the ranking member as part of the kanga for even before I was in the leadership. I was there won't. When newly created the Office of the Director of National Intelligence that did not exist before 2004. I was there even earlier in the ninety's when we wrote the whistle blower moments. And continued to write them to improve them to ensure the security of our intelligence and the safety of their whistle blowers. I know what their purpose Wallace. And we proceeded with balance and caution as we booked a loss I can say with authority. The current administration's actions undermine know if our national security and her intelligence and her protections. Of the with supplies more than about it. This there's been the acting. He'll have to choose whether to breaks along our honor his responsibility. To the constitution. On the final day. Of the constitutional convention in 1787. We're not constitution was adopted. American together on the steps of independence hall to wake the news of the government. Act senators had crafted. They asked Benjamin Franklin what do we have a republic or monarchy. Franklin replied a republic. If you can keep. Our responsibility. Is to keep it. Our public indoors because of the wisdom of our constitution. He shined in three co equal branches of government tyranny as checks and balances. When each other. The actions taken to date by the president has seriously violated the constitution. Especially when the president says. Article two says I can do what ever I want. For the past several months we have been investigating. An Arab communities and mitigating in the courts. For the health can gather all the relevant facts and consider whether to exercise its full article one powers. Including a constitutional power of the utmost gravity. Approval of articles of impeachment. And this week the president has admitted. To asking the president Ukraine to take actions which would benefit him politically. The action of the cut the actions of the trump presidency preview it. Dishonorable fact of the president's two trial of his oath of office betrayal of our national security. And betrayal of the integrity of our elections. Therefore today I'm announcing House of Representatives moving forward put an official impeachment inquiry. And drinking or six committees to proceed with their investigations. Under that umbrella. Of impeachment inquiry. The president must be held accountable. No one is above the law. Getting back that founders. In the darkest days at the American revolution. Thomas Paine wrote. But times have found us the times found them to fight for re establish our democracy the times found us today. Not to place herself in the same category acquaintances have founders. But two places in the urgency of protecting and defending our constitution. From all enemies foreign and domestic. In the words of Ben Franklin to keep. At the public. I think our chairman chairman chairman Nadler chairman shift from killing Heather judiciary chairmanship. Of intelligence chairman angle of foreign affairs chairman Cummings. Oversight and chairman Cummings had been in touch with constantly he's a master of so much like including. Un inspectors general. And an engine whistle blowers. Congresswoman Richie Neal the the Ways and Means Committee congresswoman Maxine Waters. We find that financial services committee and I commend all of her time. Members senate colleagues for their thoughtful thoughtful approach to convince for their careful statement. God bless them and got bless America thank him. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reluctant no more sing us a constitutional duty of the House of Representatives to move towards impeachment inquiry. Of president trump with harsh words for president trump saying he seriously violated the constitution. The betrayal of the oath of office a betrayal of national security Jon Karl they are going to move. They're gonna move that sounded like a speaker of the house not simply beginning the process of impeachment but deciding that this president deserves to be be impeach George she said. Violation of the law twice as you pointed out she said seriously violated the constitution. And betrayal of his oath of office that sounds to me like she is making the case not simply. For the inquiry but for impeaching this president. Thomas achieved discourse on let's take a step back and look at this whistle blower complaint that the speaker cited -- this is a complaint filed. Would need Intel Director of National Intelligence back in August Director of National Intelligence decided not to turn it over. To the congress as she said as they believe is required by law the Democrats. And that has it been what precipitated these reports that came about the phone quoted Ukrainian president. George are exactly right the key thing to remember here is that the inspector general for the intelligence community. Look at this complaint regarding that phone call and perhaps other matters. And determined it was credible and other urgent concern. He then wanted to transfer this information does complain to congress for review the Justice Department and the acting. Director of naslund senate intelligence that he could not do so he's sharply disagrees and that's part of why we. Are where we are true cliffs where and then we know that indeed deals at least in part with this phone call is July 25 phone call between the president and Ukrainian president and -- the president is now said he's going to release at least. A trend he said he's gonna release a transcript of that phone call tomorrow. We believe that he is going to at least that's what we're hearing that he's going to release that transcript tomorrow. But George there are other elements of this potentially we have heard from our sources at the person who filed this complaint we have heard. Some of this information a second hand so polluted that person here from worded that information come from so their other people. Involved in knowing what the call was about. And the events surrounding it so that is key as well just. Presumably that is something that we look at an impeachment in an impeachment inquiry now to be conduct by six different house committees Terry Moran want to bring you in for this Terry and I both covered. The Clinton impeachment about twenty years ago that moved quite quickly be a formal inquiry started in October yet I just a couple of months of an inquiry they move to a vote. That's right about four. Or five months from soup to nuts and that impeachment inquiry because these things have a momentum of themselves and you can feel it. Since this story broke a sense. In particular among those majority maker Democrats those Democrats elected. In 2018 from marginal districts many of them why one by president trump. Quite reluctant. To move towards engagement there's something about the allegation here if borne out by the evidence. That is just deeply disturbing to anyone is taken an oath to the constitution it seems at least on the democratic side. This sends that it is an abuse of office for the president to have done what he did if the evidence bears it out and I think the dam has broken as John said. And it could move fast. Tune in to enlist a foreign government health investigative political opponent Terry justice to look at the history of all this only three previous president's. Having me impeachment inquiry is of course a Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton impeached but not convicted by the senate Richard Nixon resigned. In the face of almost certain conviction in the senate. That's right it is the nuclear weapon in the constitution and the American people are always from the beginning. Had an understanding of how profound it is to overturn a presidential election we have never. Impeached and removed a president from office Nixon resigning. In the face of us smoking gun evidence and his own. On willingness to fight it. But it is really the ultimate sanction in the constitution one that the American public must be brought along to agree to at least that is what the history certain. We shipped want to bring our senior congressional correspondent mayor Bruce and them in on that a marriage you've been reporting Nancy Pelosi had been reluctant because she didn't leave the public idiots who was yet supporting impeachment. Didn't believe it or you would get a conviction. In the senate but clearly these new revelations have changed her mind and now she's decided to go about it not by setting up a special committee but he she just said. Leading to the six committees of jurisdiction in the house. And George there is still a huge political risk here the speakers making it very clear look she's putting. I'm are full power behind this. But it doesn't even pass the test that she has set up for herself she had said all along through months of hesitation here that she needed to have the public's Diane and support from Republicans. It's not clear that she had either of those things and just now I tried to ask the speaker that's saying book an American president starving convicted by the senate what is she hoping to accomplish. If the senate won't convict tear but it is very clear we have seen. A in the last few days especially just in the last few hours. That this is a very different set of conditions speaker Pelosi speaking about this as an issue of the national security remember she's an intelligent person at a record you heard or just saying that in her statement. And in speaking on Democrats they feel. That unlike some of the other issues and the other allegations against the president that this. This incident these revelations are ones the Democrats are licking clearly conveyed to the public that they can get. Them on board with this. This is not without risk so for Democrats but is clearly raised an anti Pelosi now feels is. Worth T and it does appear you know we we know Nancy Pelosi knows how to count votes in these she never moves without knowing where caucus. Is going to be we've seen more than a 150 Democrats on the record supporting impeachment inquiry though that number likely to climb clip could quickly now. It just right you have more than two thirds of house Democrats who say they support this move and I think it is worth pointing out that this didn't happen in a vacuum speaker Pelosi has been involved in his breaking of the damned that we had seen over the last several day she was. Ink in consultation. With those moderate Democrats those key freshman Democrats and those swing districts who came out overnight and essentially gave Nancy Pelosi the political cover to go ahead and take these steps she's been in close contact. With the chairman of the the and the chair women of the committee's leading these investigations. She knew exactly where her members were and now she is following. An inning. What they want to see happening on the inner Bruce thanks you get the first response from the president just tweeted out a moment ago saying such important 89 nations. So much work and so we're success in the Democrats purposely had to ruin and demeanor with more breaking news. Which I'm garbage so bad for our country. Jon Karl we see those words which time that's what worked for the president he believes politically during a Muller investigation the question is can it work here. He said and over and over again regarding that special counsel investigation. I think this this feels different and I think that. You know talking to people very close to the president he he said earlier just before close he came out. That they keep telling me this would be good for me politically if if if the Democrats impeach them that is not what the president believes personally he. Fears this he does not want to cease. Has strong Republican support there's no question about that but and it is surprising. Vote in the senate just late this afternoon a hundred to nothing vote in the senate. Asking for that whistle blower complaint I normally the president who had not been wanting to send that over could count on Republicans who try to block it with them Mitch McConnell let that broke up. It was simply a sense of the senate so it's non binding but important symbolically. This was all 100 senators saying that the whistle blower complaint that the Department of Justice have blocked at the White House working with the Department of Justice. Had blocked it should be sent over the intelligence commission. Okay Jon Karl thanks Paul meant to stay on Capitol Hill the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has decided to open a formal impeachment inquiry. A president trump we just saw president trumps first response to leave much more coming up on world news I would David Muir. I'm George Stephanopoulos and you.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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