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Thur. 9:43 a.m.: Pelosi OKs drafting of impeachment articles against Trump

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., makes a statement this morning at the Capitol in Washington. Pelosi says the House is drafting articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced this morning that the House is moving forward to draft articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.

“Our democracy is what is at stake,” Pelosi said. “The president leaves us no choice but to act.”

Pelosi delivered the historic announcement as Democrats push toward a vote, possibly by Christmas.

She said she was authorizing the drafting of articles of impeachment “sadly but with confidence and humility.”

“The president’s actions have seriously violated the Constitution,” Pelosi said.

At the heart of the impeachment probe is a July call with the president of Ukraine, in which Trump pressed the leader to investigate Democrats and political rival Joe Biden as Trump was withholding aid to the country.

“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. “The president has engaged in abuse of power, undermining our national security and jeopardizing the integrity of our elections.”

On Wednesday, Pelosi met behind closed doors with her Democratic caucus, asking, “Äre you ready?” The answer was a resounding yes, according to those in the room.

Trump tweeted that if Democrats “are going to impeach me, do it now, fast.” He said he wants to get on to a “fair trial” in the Senate. The president also said that Democrats have “gone crazy.”

Three leading legal scholars testified Wednesday to the House Judiciary Committee that Trump’s attempts to have Ukraine investigate Democratic rivals are grounds for impeachment, bolstering the Democrats’ case.

A fourth expert called by Republicans warned against rushing the process, arguing this would be the shortest of impeachment proceedings, with the “thinnest” record of evidence in modern times, setting a worrisome standard.