By Michael Hernandez
WASHINGTON (AA) - The House of Representatives will open an impeachment inquiry into U.S. President Donald Trump, Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Tuesday.
“The president must be held accountable; no one is above the law,” Pelosi said in remarks to reporters on Capitol Hill.
The investigation will center on Trump's July call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, a conversation that prompted a hitherto unknown whistleblower to file a complaint over possible wrongdoing.
Pelosi had been reluctant to take up impeachment, but reports that Trump sought to pressure Zelensky into probing former Vice President Joe Biden's son, Hunter Biden, using U.S. aid as leverage has led to mounting calls for the top House Democrat to act.
Trump has acknowledged the call and freezing aid, but he has denied that he held up the funding, insisting there was no "quid pro quo."
The whistleblower, whose name has not been made public, has requested to testify before the House Intelligence Committee regarding the conversation, Chairman Adam Schiff said Tuesday.
The individual has requested guidance from Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire on how to do so, Schiff tweeted.
"We‘re in touch with counsel and look forward to the whistleblower’s testimony as soon as this week," he said.
Constitutionally, it is the House that has the power to enter articles of impeachment. If at least one is approved by a majority in the chamber, the matter moves to the Senate, where it is tried.
Three presidents have been impeached in U.S. history -- Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton. Both Johnson and Clinton were acquitted, and Nixon resigned from office in order to avoid the process.