The Roundup: September 19-25

Yesterday, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi addressed the American people and announced that the House is moving forward with impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump. 

Pelosi’s change of heart came after reports surfaced that Trump pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden — one of his potential opponents in the upcoming 2020 election.

This was confirmed after the White House released a heavily edited transcript of one of their phone calls which clearly shows that Trump asked for interference in the 2020 election in exchange for military aid.

Demanding a foreign nation interfere in our elections is an affront to our Constitution and an impeachable offense.

That’s why the inspector general for the intelligence community — a Trump appointee — sent a criminal referral based on a whistleblower complaint to the Department of Justice. However, Trump’s allies in the department secretly set it aside.

Trump’s Director of National Intelligence will testify before the House Intelligence Committee tomorrow about the whistleblower complaint, and the complaint itself may be released as early as this evening. 

The floodgates have opened as more of Trump’s crimes and egregious abuses of power come to light. Here are the most important stories detailing this unprecedented political moment: 

The New York Times: Nancy Pelosi Announces Formal Impeachment Inquiry of Trump
Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced on Tuesday that the House would initiate a formal impeachment inquiry against Trump, charging him with betraying his oath of office and the nation’s security by seeking to enlist a foreign power to tarnish a rival for his own political gain.

USA Today: Time for Nancy Pelosi to stand up and lead on Donald Trump’s impeachment
Every representative should have to go on the record about Trump’s crimes — and Pelosi holds the power to put them on the record. Democrats should not be afraid of a vote demonstrating that one party is standing up to protect our democracy and the rule of law, and that the other is standing with cronyism and corruption. They should cast that vote proudly.

BuzzFeed News: Progressive Groups To Democrats: Don’t Take A Break Until The President’s Impeached
In a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Judiciary Chair Jerry Nadler, leaders from 15 progressive groups, led by By the People and Stand Up America, said they believe it is irresponsible for members to go home in early October for the planned two-week recess. The letter comes after a coalition including Stand Up America, Indivisible, MoveOn, and Need to Impeach doggedly pushed Democratic members on impeachment during the recent August recess, showing up at town halls, making calls, and confronting representatives in their districts, hoping to convince more members to support an inquiry.

CNN: Read Trump’s phone conversation with Volodymyr Zelensky
Trump repeatedly pushed for Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, and his son, Hunter, during a July 25 phone call, according to a transcript of the conversation released by the White House. 

BuzzFeed News: 5 Moments In Donald Trump’s Phone Call To Ukraine That Could Fuel The Impeachment Investigation
The reports that Trump asked a foreign government to dig up dirt that could be damaging to Biden ahead of the 2020 election raised alarms in Congress and strengthened calls for impeachment among Democrats, culminating in Pelosi announcing Tuesday that the House was launching a formal impeachment investigation.

Medium: Joint Statement from Committee Chairs on Release of Ukraine Call Record
“The record of the call released by the White House confirms our worst fears: that [Trump] abused his office by directly and repeatedly asking a foreign country to investigate his political rival and open investigations meant to help [Trump] politically. Not once, not twice, but more than half a dozen times during one telephone call. This was a shakedown.”

Talking Points Memo: DOJ Declined To Act On Criminal Referral In Trump’s Ukraine Smear Campaign
A whistleblower’s complaint about Trump’s conduct towards Ukraine prompted a criminal referral to the Justice Department. However, the Department decided not to act on the referral, which was sent to the DOJ by the director of national intelligence and the inspector general for the intelligence community.

Axios: DNI on whistleblower complaint: “I have upheld my responsibility”
Maguire is due to testify before Congress Thursday on a whistleblower complaint regarding a conversation between Trump that involved an alleged “promise” and Ukraine. Trump has confirmed that he spoke to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenky regarding 2020 candidate Joe Biden and his son Hunter, but the nature of the complaint remains unclear.

The Washington Post: Giuliani pursued shadow Ukraine agenda as key foreign policy officials were sidelined
Though the whistleblower report focuses on the Trump-Zelensky call, officials familiar with its contents said that it includes references to other developments tied to Trump, including efforts by Giuliani to insert himself into U.S.-Ukrainian relations.

New York Magazine: Senate Passes Unanimous Resolution to Hand Whistle-blower Complaint to Intel Committees
Minority Leader Chuck Schumer was able to pass a unanimous, non-binding resolution through the Senate demanding that the whistle-blower complaint about Trump’s efforts to make Ukraine investigate a political rival be turned over to congressional intelligence committees immediately.

The Intercept: Why the House Democratic Caucus was able to move so rapidly toward impeachment
August had been a challenge for the party’s rank-and-file, as activists and angry citizens back home browbeat them at town halls, grocery stores, and local events for the party’s unwillingness to impeach Trump.