Update (1920ET): In what is likely to spoil the Democrats' week, President Trump - having already authorized the release of the "complete, unredacted" transcript of his call with Ukraine's president - is now set to release both the whistleblower complaint and the Inspector General report that are at the center of the impeachment inquiry by the end of the week.
Politico reports, according to a senior administration officials, The White House is preparing to release the documents to Congress over the next few days. The president has agreed to this move, the official added.
Additionally, the so-called whistleblower has sought legal advice and has released a statement:
Statement Concerning the Intelligence Community Whistleblower
Our firm has represented our client from the outset, and he/she has diligently followed the processes and laws that afford the greatest legal protections against reprisal. As legal counsel, it is our duty to ensure our client is fully protected.
We support the bi-partisan, unanimous resolution passed by the Senate regarding our client’s lawful whistleblower complaint and call upon the Acting Director of National Intelligence to transmit the complete disclosure to the two Intelligence Oversight Committees.
Additionally, in order to ensure maximum legal protections for our client, we can confirm press reports that, today, we wrote to the Acting Director of National Intelligence to request specific guidance as to the appropriate security practices to permit a meeting, if needed, with the Members of the Intelligence Oversight Committees. We await a timely response from the Acting Director providing such guidance.
Trump's move would seem to pour cold water on Pelosi's plan, as Politico notes, liberal lawyers and Democratic lawmakers say that only the whistleblower complaint can fully lay out the allegations against the president; and now that he is releasing all of the relevant documents - an act he would hardly be likely to do was there any "there, there" - we can't help but wonder what happens next.
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Nancy Pelosi finally succumbed to her Democratic peers, and did what she was trying so hard for years to avoid: just after 5pm on Tuesday, Pelosi announced the launch of a formal impeachment inquiry into President Trump.
"Today, I'm announcing the House of Representatives is moving forward with an official impeachment inquiry. I'm directing our six committees to proceed with their investigations under that umbrella ... The president must be held accountable,” Pelosi said in a press conference.
"The actions taken to date by the president have seriously violated the Constitution, especially when the president says ‘Article II [of the Constitution] says I can do whatever I want,”
The move followed a surge of pressure from the progressive wing of her party that snowballed to include moderates, liberal holdouts, vulnerable Democrats, committee chairs and party icons. Pelosi had long resisted calls for impeachment proceedings but as of Tuesday afternoon more than two-thirds of her caucus supported impeachment, following unconfirmed allegations that Trump made military aid to Ukraine conditional on that nation launching a probe into corruption by former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter.
“For the past several months we have been investigating in our committees and litigating in the courts so the House can gather all the relevant facts and consider whether to exercise its full Article 1 power, including a constitutional power of the utmost gravity, approval of articles of impeachment,” Pelosi said.
Reading from a teleprompter, Pelosi quoted Benjamin Franklin describing the then-new government of the United States as “a republic, if you can keep it,” adding, “our responsibility is to keep it."
“Our republic endures because of the wisdom of our constitution enshrined in three coequal branches that act as checks and balances,” Pelosi added. “The president must be held accountable. No one is above the law.”
President Trump was quick to respond to the press conference, and while Pelosi was still speaking Trump in a tweet called the announcement, "Witch Hunt garbage."
"Such an important day at the United Nations, so much work and so much success, and the Democrats purposely had to ruin and demean it with more breaking news Witch Hunt garbage. So bad for our Country!" he wrote.
Such an important day at the United Nations, so much work and so much success, and the Democrats purposely had to ruin and demean it with more breaking news Witch Hunt garbage. So bad for our Country!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 24, 2019
Pelosi, Nadler, Schiff and, of course, Maxine Waters! Can you believe this?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 24, 2019
PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 24, 2019
Ahead of Pelosi's official announcement, Trump said that an impeachment inquiry would benefit him politically: "If [Pelosi] does that, they all say that's a positive for me in the election," he said. "You could also say who needs it. It's bad for the country."
Earlier on Tuesday, the president promised to release an unedited and unredacted version of transcript of the phone call with Ukraine's president, a move that Democrats who want to see the full whistleblower - which is based on the phone call - report say falls short.
Ironically, while a Trump impeachment effort will go nowhere, because even if the House votes it through it will never pass the Senate, we now wait to see what a long overdue probe into Joe Biden will reveal.
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Update 2: As expected:
- PELOSI TELLS DEMOCRATS TRUMP IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY TO START
And with that, the 2020 showdown begins.
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Update 1: Democrats are scrambling as it seems President Trump's decision to release the transcript has spoiled their narrative.
Chuck Schumer appears to have let slip what Democrats' next play will be as he demanded that the Whistleblower's complaint still be released (which inevitably is a partisan document), claiming that the Trump call transcript "is insufficient."
That would appear to be an entirely defenseless position to take (as the source did not actually hear the complaint or read the transcript), but they have to keep the suspicion alive.
Additionally, Rep. Adam Schiff says the whistleblower wants to speak to his House Intel committee, and testimony may happen this week.
And finally, WaPo appears to have been ready for Pelosi's announcement with a pre-packaged story...
Breaking: House Speaker Pelosi to announce formal impeachment inquiry of Trump after resisting for months https://t.co/8HjXyr1pi5— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) September 24, 2019
All of which is largely moot now that Trump will release the transcript.
Nevertheless, the algos are selling again...
However, we can't help but wonder if the Democrats just walk into one of the biggest political trap of all time?
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As we detailed earlier, stocks are bouncing back hard and impeachment odds tumbling after President Trump announced he has "authorized the release tomorrow of the complete, fully declassified and unredacted transcript..." somewhat stealing the jam out of Nancy Pelosi's Democratic Party plans later this evening...
I am currently at the United Nations representing our Country, but have authorized the release tomorrow of the complete, fully declassified and unredacted transcript of my phone conversation with President Zelensky of Ukraine....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 24, 2019
....You will see it was a very friendly and totally appropriate call. No pressure and, unlike Joe Biden and his son, NO quid pro quo! This is nothing more than a continuation of the Greatest and most Destructive Witch Hunt of all time!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 24, 2019
Why would Trump release such a transcript if it had anything incriminating?
Stocks agreed and surged back...
And impeachment odds are tumbling down from 66% to 42%...
We suspect Biden's election odds will also start to drop.