Trump brands it a witch hunt, Democrats say they simply want the truth: here’s how America’s key political players reacted today, as the House moved to formalise an impeachment inquiry against the President.
The White House reacted with fury today, as the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives voted to formalise an impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump.
The House passed a resolution to formally proceed with impeachment hearings by a majority of 232 to 196, as Trump again expressed outrage over what he termed “the greatest witch hunt in American history”.
Only two Democrats voted against the resolution, which was the first official measure of support for Trump’s impeachment. The ballot result does not reflect whether or not to impeach Trump, but instead moves the inquiry into a more public stage.
The impeachment process was first announced by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in September, and is based on claims that Trump violated his oath and potentially committed an offence in a July 2019 phone call to his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelenskiy.
The president is accused of pressuring Zelenskiy to investigate corruption claims against Senator Joe Biden, his potential 2020 election rival, and Biden’s son Hunter, using US military aid to the country as leverage for his request. Trump denies any wrongdoing.
All House Republicans voted against the resolution today, but it was not enough to sway the result. After the ruling was passed, Trump’s press secretary Stephanie Grisham issued a statement condemning the decision.
“Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats’ unhinged obsession with this illegitimate impeachment proceeding does not hurt President Trump; it hurts the American people,” she said, accusing the opposition of being “unfair, unconstitutional, and fundamentally un-American”.
Here are other reactions from across the political sphere, starting with Trump’s daughter and senior White House advisor Ivanka Trump, who jumped to her father’s defence:
Presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris voiced her approval for the process.
Pelosi, who took the unusual step of voting in her role as House Speaker today, said America’s democracy hung in the balance.
Safe to say, New York republican Lee Zeldin wasn’t happy about the vote.
The Democrats have faced some criticism over the apparent secrecy of the impeachment inquiry to date, something Donald Trump Jr. referenced in his reaction to today’s decision.
Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib claimed the president is corrupt, and vowed to protect America.
Writing hours before the vote, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called into question the exact phone transcript that Trump claims is proof of his innocence.
Immediately after the vote, House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff laid out how the impeachment process will now proceed.
He confirmed that the inquiry will move to open hearings where staff counsel can question witnesses involved in issues surrounding Trump’s alleged violation of office.
Responding to Republican complaints that depositions made so far have been shielded from scrutiny, Schiff said the resolution passed today would allow him to begin to releasing transcripts of events that had played out behind closed doors.
“We take no joy in having to move down this road and proceed with the impeachment inquiry, but neither do we shrink from it,” he added.