A day after the House voted to formalize the procedures of the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi defended the ongoing investigation by arguing that the President’s actions with respect to Ukraine left Democrats with no choice but to take action.
“What the President did vis-a-vis the President of Ukraine just removed all doubt that we had to act,” Pelosi said in an interview with David Westin on Bloomberg’s “Balance of Power” that aired Friday.
The comments come in the wake of a consequential and contentious floor vote on Thursday that marked the first time the full House chamber took a vote related to the inquiry. Democrats are now gearing up to shift into a new, more public phase of the inquiry where they will face increasing pressure to make their case to the American public.
The resolution the House voted to approve provides the procedural details for how the House will move its inquiry into its next phase as it investigates a whistleblower complaint alleging that the President attempted to pressure the Ukrainian President during a July 25 phone call to interfere in the 2020 presidential election by investigating the family of his potential political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden.
The resolution passed largely along party lines. House Republicans were united in voting against the resolution, while two House Democrats, Reps. Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey and Collin Peterson of Minnesota, split with their colleagues to vote against the resolution.
The vote put a spotlight on vulnerable House Democrats in congressional seats that the party will need to hold onto in order to keep their House majority.
“I’m already being attacked for my vote today in support of the impeachment inquiry,” freshman Democrat Lucy McBath, who flipped a congressional seat from red to blue in Georgia in the 2018 midterms, tweeted on Thursday, in one sign of that pressure.
Congressional Republicans and the White House have criticized the impeachment inquiry as partisan and illegitimate, and seized on Thursday’s vote results to argue that there is bipartisan support in opposition to the inquiry, rather than in favor of it.
But Pelosi argued on Friday that House Democrats “have no choice” but to investigate the President.
“I have kind of tried to weigh the equities in all of this, trying to avoid dividing our country further than he already has divided it, but also, we have no choice, we took an oath to protect and defend our democracy and that is what he has made an assault on,” Pelosi said, referencing the President’s call with the Ukrainian President.
“If the Republicans have a higher loyalty to the President than they do to their oath of office, that’s their problem,” she said.
The House speaker emphasized, however, that Democrats have not yet decided whether they will ultimately take the step of voting to impeach the President.
“We haven’t even made a decision to impeach, this is what an inquiry is about,” she said.