WASHINGTON - House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that Congress had to act in the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump because of his failure to faithfully execute the law, a phrase that echoed the reasoning for the Declaration of Independence from England.
"The president abused his power for his own personal political benefit," said Pelosi, D-Calif. "The president's actions have seriously violated the Constitution."
"Today I am asking our chairmen to proceed with articles of impeachment," she added.
Meanwhile, Trump invited House Democrats to impeach him quickly so that he could get past the Senate trial and "get back to business." He tweeted after Pelosi's statement that "Radical Left Democrats" were seeking "to Impeach me over NOTHING." Republicans hold a 53 to 47 majority in the Senate, and it would take a two-thirds majority to vote to remove Trump.
Stephanie Grisham, a White House spokeswoman, said in a tweet that Trump had done nothing but lead the country in a booming economy with more jobs and a stronger military.
"We look forward to a fair trial in the Senate," Grisham said.
The clash between leaders of two of the three branches of government came after a day-long hearing in the House Judiciary Committee. A trio of law professors said Trump had committed impeachable offenses by urging Ukraine to investigate his political rival while withholding a meeting and nearly $400 million in military aid. Pelosi recited the history of the reasoning behind impeachment, which the professors testified about during the hearing.
A 300-page report Tuesday from three other panels that investigated Trump's dealings with Ukraine found that the "evidence of the President's misconduct is overwhelming, and so too is the evidence of his obstruction of Congress." The House Judiciary Committee schedule a hearing Monday for Intelligence Committee staffers to present the report's findings to the panel.
"President Trump placed his own personal and political interests above our national interest, above the security of our country, and most importantly above our most precious right: the ability of each and every one of us to participate in fair elections, free of corruption," House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., said to close the hearing. "The Constitution has a solution for a president who places his personal or political interests above those of the nation - the power of impeachment."
Pelosi said the House wouldn't wait for federal court decisions in order to deal with Trump's misconduct, after the president said he would fight all subpoenas and directed top administration officials not to testify in the inquiry. One case pending in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals deals with the enforcement of a subpoena that former White House counsel Don McGahn defied.
"We're not going to be accomplices to his obstruction of justice," Pelosi said.
But Pelosi declined to comment about which issues the six committees that have investigated Trump since Democrats regained control of the House in January - Financial Services, Foreign Affairs, Intelligence, Judiciary, Oversight and Reform, and Ways and Means - might pursue for articles of impeachment.
"My chairmen will be making recommendations," Pelosi said.
But Trump called the hearing "a joke." Republicans on the three panels that investigated Trump - Foreign Affairs, Intelligence, and Oversight and Reform released their own report Monday that argued the president has the authority to direct foreign policy. Trump eventually met with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky and released the military aid without an investigation of former Vice President Joe Biden.
More: A diagram of events in the impeachment inquiry of President Trump
Grisham said the hearing was good for Trump but bad for Democrats because all it did was establish the liberal bias of the professors.
"It did nothing to change the fact that, despite weeks of hearings in this sham process, the president did nothing wrong," Grisham said.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Pelosi asks chairmen to pursue articles of impeachment against Trump