House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announces a formal impeachment inquiry into President Trump,


House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announces a formal impeachment inquiry into President Trump, 
on Capitol Hill in Washington on Tuesday, September 24, 2019. 

The current furor stems from a call Mr. Trump made to the president of Ukraine in July, in which he admitted discussing Joe Biden in the context of fighting "corruption" in the country. Mr. Trump and his allies, in particular personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, have accused Biden of pushing for the ouster of a Ukrainian prosecutor while he was vice president in order to benefit his son. The prosecutor was widely seen as corrupt, and no evidence of wrongdoing by Biden has emerged.

In August, an anonymous member of the intelligence community filed a whistleblower complaint with the intelligence community inspector general, who determined it constituted an "urgent concern" requiring congressional notification under federal law. However, after consulting with the Justice Department and White House, the acting director of national intelligence came to a different conclusion, and has refused to provide the complaint to congressional committees.

Pelosi said the administration's refusal to provide the complaint was a "violation of the law" that "undermine[s] both our national security and our intelligence."
One after another on Monday and Tuesday, Democrats from vulnerable House districts who had been resisting previous calls for impeachment came out in favor of initiating impeachment proceedings, citing concerns over Mr. Trump's potential pressuring of a foreign leader to investigate a domestic political opponent.

The president directed his acting chief of staff to hold off on releasing nearly $400 million in military aid to Ukraine shortly before the call in July, according to a senior administration official with direct knowledge of the administration's actions.
Mr. Trump, who is in New York for the opening of the United Nations General Assembly, reacted angrily to Pelosi's statement, calling it a "total Witch Hunt!" Earlier in the day he said he would release the transcript of the call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that is part of the whistleblower complaint.
Trump slams impeachment inquiry as "presidential harassment"

"You will see it was a very friendly and totally appropriate call. No pressure and, unlike Joe Biden and his son, NO quid pro quo!" the president tweeted Tuesday afternoon.
That concession, however, did nothing to temper Democrats' demands for the complaint itself. Congressman Adam Schiff, the Democratic chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said the whistleblower wants to testify before the committee, and wrote a letter to attorneys representing the individual to request a voluntary interview on Thursday. -- Stefan Becket

Earlier updates appear below: Trump campaign: "Bogus" impeachment inquiry will backfire

10:40 p.m.: The president's reelection campaign denounced the impeachment inquiry as a "bogus" and "fact-free" political ploy by congressional Democrats to relitigate the 2016 presidential election.
"They can't stand the will of the American people as manifested in the election of Donald Trump, so they seek to impeach him before the facts have even come to light," campaign spokesperson Kayleigh McEnany said in a statement to CBS News.
"In doing so, Democrats have exposed their radical hatred for President Trump and helped to pave the way for a landslide victory for President Trump on November 3, 2020," she added.

McEnany said the video tweeted by the president mocking impeachment calls by Democrats had been in the campaign's possession for six weeks and "long before" details about Mr. Trump's phone call with the Ukrainian president emerged this month.

"We just didn't think Democrats were stupid enough to go down this road that will surely backfire," McEnany said.
White House discussing whether to share whistleblower complaint with Congress
9:38 p.m.: The White House and the intelligence community are discussing ways to allow the whistleblower who made the complaint last month to share information with Congress, CBS News has learned.
Earlier on Tuesday, Jason Klitenic, the general counsel of the office of the director of national intelligence, responded to a letter from the whistleblower's counsel, saying that his office is currently communicating with executive branch "stakeholders" to determine the path forward on matters of privilege and confidentiality. -- Paula Reid
Intel chief defends decision to withhold whistleblower complaint
7:57 p.m.: Joseph Maguire, the acting director of national intelligence who is withholding the whistleblower complaint, issued a statement defending his decision-making in light of Pelosi's critical comments.

"I have sworn an oath to the Constitution 11 times in my 36 years of public service and view it as a covenant with every American that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of my office," he said. "In light of recent reporting on the whistleblower complaint, I want to make clear that I have upheld my responsibility to follow the law every step of the way."

Maguire, who will testify publicly before the House Intelligence Committee on Thursday, said he is "committed to protecting whistleblowers and ensuring every complaint is handled appropriately. I look forward to continuing to work with the Administration and Congress to find a resolution regarding this important matter." -- Stefan Becket

​White House: Inquiry derails "any chances" of legislative compromise

7:46 p.m.: White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said Pelosi's decision to open an inquiry will derail any chance of bipartisan legislation in an already divided Congress.
"In a far departure from all of the work and results of this President, House Democrats have destroyed any chances of legislative progress for the people of this country by continuing to focus all their energy on partisan political attacks," Grisham said in a statement.

"Their attacks on the President and his agenda are not only partisan and pathetic, they are in dereliction of their Constitutional duty," she added.
Grisham said that despite the looming clash between the two branches of government, Mr. Trump will "continue to be vigorous in laying out the facts and standing up for the many forgotten men and women who elected him." -- Camilo Montoya-Galvez
Whistleblower wants to talk to Congress directly, lawyer says
7:20 p.m.: The anonymous whistleblower intends to reach out directly to the intelligence committees, according to the whistleblower's attorneys, who wrote to the acting director of national intelligence (DNI) seeking guidance about how to do so securely.

In a letter released Tuesday, attorney Andrew Bakaj wrote to the DNI in accordance with federal statute to provide "formal notice of our intent to contact the congressional intelligence committees directly." He requested "direction on doing so in accordance with appropriate security practices."
In a letter in response, Jason Klitenic, general counsel for the DNI, said the office was "consulting with other Executive Branch stakeholders" and would provide guidance soon.
"Please know that the DNI's highest priority is ensuring that the women and men of the Intelligence Community have everything they need to carry out their mission in support of our nation's security," Klitenic wrote. "This includes supporting the rights of whistleblowers to provide information to Congress."

Klitenic wrote the office has "every reason to believe that your client -- our IC colleague -- has acted in good faith and fully complied with the law." -- Stefan Becket
GOP leader: Pelosi "does not speak for America" on impeachment
6:27 p.m.: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy responded to Pelosi's announcement in an abbreviated but impassioned statement at the Capitol.
Flanked by Minority Whip Steve Scalise, McCarthy said Pelosi could not "unilaterally" decide the House is undertaking impeachment proceedings.

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