MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO/CBS News) — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she supports a formal impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump.

She announced the inquiry Tuesday afternoon following reports that Trump pressured Ukraine’s leader to investigate Vice President Joe Biden’s family. She called it, “a betrayal of our national security,” and a “betrayal of our election.”

President Trump addressed world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly Tuesday morning, but it was a phone call with Ukraine’s president in July that is dominating the headlines. He insists he did nothing wrong, and announced he’ll release a transcript of the phone call.

CBS News recently learned that Trump ordered the State Department and Pentagon to withhold hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid to the Ukraine, days ahead of the phone call with the nation’s president in which Trump is said to have pressured the leader to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.

The push for impeachment is moving very quickly and is separate from the one that has been kicking around in Congress for a couple of years over the Mueller probe and allegations of hush money from the president over alleged affairs.

The Ukraine controversy appears to have done what the Mueller report didn’t do in two years, namely get moderate Democrats and the House leadership behind impeachment. Among the moderates now saying if the latest allegations are true there should be impeachment hearings are Reps. Angie Craig and Dean Phillips. Both have been, until now, “no” votes on going forward with impeachment.

“The fact that [Craig and Phillips], who are more centrist Democrats, who are now pushing on this is suggesting again that the political timing, or the political calculus or the seriousness of the allegations here are different than what we saw even six months ago,” Hamline University professor David Schultz said.

Another Minnesota member of the U.S. Congress now calling for impeachment is Rep. Betty McCollum. She is very close to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who also has resisted the call for impeachment.

“This now is dealing directly with our countries national security, and the security of our allies in that part of the world,” McCollum said.

Congresswoman Ilhan Omar has been calling for impeachment for months.

“We need to get to the bottom of this. Our national security is at risk, I truly believe that,” Omar said.

Minnesota Democratic Congressman Collin Peterson is against impeachment. He said in a statement, “It will be a failed process that will end up even further dividing our country.” Peterson represents Northwestern and western Minnesota, an area President Trump carried in 2016 by 30 percentage points.

Minnesota Republican Congressman Tom Emmer, who is also chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee, had this to say:

Democrats have lost their sanity and any remaining credibility with the American people. Make no mistake about it: backing impeachment will cost the Democrats their Majority in 2020.

We reached out to Minnesota Congressmen Jim Hagedorn and Pete Stauber for reaction, and have not heard back.

Sen. Tina Smith says she’s now supporting impeachment.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar has said previously she backs impeachment proceedings.

Esme Murphy

Comments