Washington: Donald Trump has abused power, undermined national security and jeopardised the integrity of the elections, Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi said on Thursday as she announced that the US president "leaves us no choice but to act" by going ahead with the process to impeach him.
The Democratic Party, which enjoys a comfortable majority in the House, is most likely to get through the motion of impeaching President Trump, making him only the third president in American history to face removal by Congress.
"Our Democracy is what is at stake. The President leaves us no choice but to act, because he is trying to corrupt, once again, the election for his own benefit," Pelosi said ramping up her charges against Trump.
She said the "President has engaged in abuse of power undermining our national security and jeopardizing the integrity of our elections. His actions are in defiance of the vision of our Founders and the oath of office that he takes to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the US."
"Sadly, but with confidence and humility, with allegiance to our Founders and our hearts full of love for America, today, I am asking our Chairmen to proceed with articles of impeachment," Pelosi said.
Trump and the White House slammed the Democrats for their latest announcement on impeachment.
"...This will mean that the beyond important and seldom used act of Impeachment will be used routinely to attack future Presidents. That is not what our Founders had in mind. The good thing is that the Republicans have NEVER been more united. We will win!" Trump tweeted soon after Pelosi's announcement.
In a live televised address from the US capitol, Pelosi said the President's actions have seriously violated the Constitution - "especially when he says and acts upon the belief, 'Article II says, I can do whatever I want'."
Pelosi, 79, has been leading the Democratic Party's effort to oust Trump from the White House through the Constitution approved impeachment process. The success of her efforts depends on the support from at least a few Republican Senators in the Senate, where the GOP enjoys a majority.
Over the past few weeks, she said, through the Intelligence Committee working with the Foreign Affairs and Oversight Committees, the American people have heard the testimony of truly patriotic career public servants, distinguished diplomats and decorated war heroes: some of the President's own appointees.
"The facts are uncontested: the President abused his power for his own personal, political benefit at the expense of our national security, by withholding military aid and a crucial Oval Office meeting in exchange for an announcement of an investigation into his political rival," she asserted.
"If we allow a president to be above the law, we do so surely at the peril of our republic. In America, no one is above the law," she said.
Trump and the White House has described this as an impeachment hoax. White House asserted that the president has done no wrong.
"The Do Nothing, Radical Left Democrats have just announced that they are going to seek to Impeach me over NOTHING," Trump tweeted.
"They already gave up on the ridiculous Mueller 'stuff,' so now they hang their hats on two totally appropriate (perfect) phone calls with the Ukrainian President," he said.
Pelosi and the Democrats "should be ashamed," said White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham. Trump "has done nothing but lead our country - resulting in a booming economy, more jobs & a stronger military, to name just a few of his major accomplishments," she tweeted.
"We look forward to a fair trial in the Senate," Grisham said.
Earlier in the morning, Trump challenged the Democrats to impeach him.
"The Do Nothing Democrats had a historically bad day yesterday in the House. They have no Impeachment case and are demeaning our Country. But nothing matters to them, they have gone crazy, he said.
Therefore I say, if you are going to impeach me, do it now, fast, so we can have a fair trial in the Senate, and so that our Country can get back to business. We will have Schiff, the Bidens, Pelosi and many more testify, and will reveal, for the first time, how corrupt our system really is. I was elected to Clean the Swamp, and that's what I am doing!," Trump tweeted.