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Full speed ahead: Nancy Pelosi indicates that she's ready to begin a formal impeachment inquiry into Trump


Pelosi has until now opposed impeachment, seeing it as unlikely to succeed

Alex Wong/Getty Images

After repeatedly urging her colleagues to put their plans to impeach President Donald Trump on hold, Speaker of the House Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has announced that she will open a formal inquiry into impeaching the president. Her decision comes just hours after one of her House allies, Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) also announced that he was for impeachment.

What did Pelosi say?

Speaking to the Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldbert at the Atlantic Festival on Tuesday, Pelosi said regarding impeachment:

As soon as we have the facts, we're ready. Now we have the facts. We're ready.

Pelosi, who is far from being a fan of Trump, has until now opposed impeachment. This was likely because she believed that it was politically risky and unlikely to succeed.

But, now Pelosi seems to have come around too. On Monday, the Washington Post reported that Pelosi had been "sounding out" impeachment over the last few days. New accusations from a whistleblower who claimed that Trump pressured the president of Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, seems to have galvanized the pro-impeachment movement in the House.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Pelosi will announce at 5 p.m. ET that she plans to launch a formal impeachment inquiry.

What did Lewis say?

"Today I come with a heavy heart," Lewis said on the floor of the House on Tuesday, before Pelosi's comment, "deeply concerned about the future of our democracy."

He said that he had been approached by people who expressed fear in the U.S. government run by Trump.

"We will never find the truth unless we use the power given to the House of Representatives, and the House alone, to begin an official investigation as dictated by the Constitution. The future of our democracy is at stake. There comes a time when you have to be moved by the spirit of history to take action to preserve and protect the integrity of our nation. I believe, I truly believe, the time to begin impeachment proceedings against this president has come."

What chance does impeachment have?

Even if all 235 Democrats join the impeachment process, their chances of removing Trump from office seem slim. If Trump is impeached, he would be tried in the Senate, where a two-thirds majority would be required to remove him from office. Given that Republicans currently hold a majority in the Senate, that seems — at present — to be an unlikely prospect.

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