House launches formal impeachment inquiry into Trump

By Meg Wagner, Veronica Rocha, Amanda Wills and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 8:35 p.m. ET, September 24, 2019
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1:11 p.m. ET, September 24, 2019

Nancy Pelosi prepares House action as calls to start the impeachment process grow

From CNN's Dana Bash and Manu Raju

 Win McNamee/Getty Images
 Win McNamee/Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is planning to put a resolution on the House floor tomorrow to address the Ukraine issue amid growing calls to start the impeachment process, sources said.

What that resolution will specifically say is still being worked out. In fact, a Democratic leadership aide said key committees are working on the language now.

A source adds Pelosi wants to do this before Thursday when Joseph McGuire, the acting director of National Intelligence, comes to the House Intelligence Committee in hopes of pressuring him to reveal the details of the whistleblower complaint.

Separately, CNN is told that Pelosi is telling members she thinks this issue is understandable for the American public, and they get it. (This is critical since her whole thing has been public support.)

Pelosi is also encouraging members of her caucus to state their impeachment position now in order to show there is a groundswell in the caucus. (As Rep. John Lewis and other Pelosi allies have done.) She is also giving that same message to freshmen.

This comes as Pelosi will meet with key committee chairmen this afternoon who are leading investigations into President Trump, ahead of a full caucus meeting at 4 p.m. ET. Pelosi is expected to address reporters after the meeting.

12:31 p.m. ET, September 24, 2019

Biden expected to say Congress has "no choice but to impeach" if Trump does not comply with request for information

From CNN's Sarah Mucha

Former Vice President Joe Biden will say that Congress has "no choice but to impeach" President Trump if he does not comply with representatives' requests for information, according to a campaign aide.

Biden is expected to speak today at 2:30 p.m. ET. 

“He’s going to make the point that Trump’s latest abuses are on top of all of his prior abuses," the aide said. "He’s going to call on Trump to comply with all of Congress’ outstanding, lawful requests for information – in the Ukraine matter, and in the other investigations — and if Trump does not comply, Congress has no choice but to impeach.”
12:27 p.m. ET, September 24, 2019

Trump: "There was never any quid pro quo" with Ukraine

From CNN's Betsy Klein

President Trump again admitted to withholding aid to Ukraine, providing the excuse that he was awaiting additional aid from European nations, and claiming there was “never any quid pro quo.”

“I wanted to get other countries – other countries should also pay because, frankly, it affects them more,” Trump said during a bilateral meeting with embattled UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Trump said he took these concerns to acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. 

“I said hold it up. Let’s get other people to pay. And then everybody called me, 'Oh please, can we pay?' And there was never any quid pro quo," Trump said.

On Monday, The Washington Post first reported that the President had directed his acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney to freeze nearly $400 million of US military and security aid to Ukraine in the days before he spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, when he pushed the leader to look into Biden and his son's work.

There is no evidence of wrongdoing by either Joe or Hunter Biden.

12:22 p.m. ET, September 24, 2019

Democratic lawmaker: "The time to begin impeachment proceedings against this president has come"

From CNN's Haley Byrd

Alex Wong/Getty Images
Alex Wong/Getty Images

Rep. John Lewis, speaking on the floor of the House of Representatives, called for impeachment proceedings to begin, saying, “We cannot delay. We must not wait. Now is the time to act. I have been patient while we tried every other path and used every other tool.”

Lewis continued: “I believe, I truly believe, the time to begin impeachment proceedings against this president has come. To delay, or to do otherwise, would betray the foundation of our democracy.”

What we're expecting this afternoon: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is scheduled to meet with six committee chairs who are investigating the President, according to Democratic sources.

12:12 p.m. ET, September 24, 2019

Pelosi: "I'll be making my statement later today"

From CNN's Manu Raju

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi refused to comment on impeachment, if her views have changed, if she is endorsing impeachment proceedings or even a select committee.

"I’ll be making my statement later today," she told reporters repeatedly moments ago.

Pelosi this afternoon is scheduled to meet with six committee chairs who are investigating the President, according to Democratic sources.

12:15 p.m. ET, September 24, 2019

Trump says Ukraine aide was withheld because "other countries should be paying also"

President Trump, asked about reporting that he put a hold on millions in military aid to Ukraine a week before the phone call to the nation's president, said he withheld the aid because other countries were not also spending.

"Other countries should be paying also," Trump said. Why is the United States the only one paying to Ukraine? And I've been talking about this for a long time, not only with respect to Ukraine but a lot of other countries. But frankly, Why isn't Germany — I just met with the chancellor — Why isn't Germany? Why isn't France? why aren't these other countries paying?"

Trump said that the payment was eventually made.

The President made similar comments earlier today as he arrived at the United Nations.

"We’re putting up the bulk of the money. And I’m asking why is that?” Trump said earlier today. “Why is it only the United States putting up the money? And by the way, we paid that money. ”

12:08 p.m. ET, September 24, 2019

GOP Rep. Mark Meadows: "I certainly applaud" Trump for highlighting Biden and Ukraine

From CNN's Manu Raju

 Alex Wong/Getty Images
 Alex Wong/Getty Images

Asked by CNN if he is comfortable with President Trump bringing up vice President Joe Biden in call with Ukraine's president, GOP Rep. Mark Meadows responded, “I think Biden’s actions need to be investigated ... I certainly applaud him for highlighting that. I think it’s something that should be looked into. It’s very serious.”

Asked if Trump should release the transcripts, Meadows said, “I’m always for transparency.”

Meadows also disputed that the individual is a whistleblower because CNN reported the person had second-hand knowledge of the incident.

What we know: Biden will speak later today about "the DNI whistleblower report and President Trump’s ongoing abuse of power," according to a campaign news statement. It will happen at 2:30 p.m. ET.

11:25 a.m. ET, September 24, 2019

This 2020 Democrat says the House must start impeachment proceedings if they don't get a transcript of the call

From CNN's Dan Merica

Democratic presidential candidate Steve Bullock just issued a statement saying Congress must swiftly investigate the Ukraine allegations against President Trump.

“If the President withheld Congressionally-approved aid to an ally in order to strongarm them into investigating a political rival, it will be the most dangerous example yet of his consistently disgraceful and unpresidential conduct,” the Montana governor said.

He added that the House should begin impeachment proceedings if they are not provided with the relevant transcripts of President Trump’s interactions with Ukrainian officials.

"If they don’t get it, I see no other option than starting impeachment proceedings," he said.

11:20 a.m. ET, September 24, 2019

Joe Biden will speak today

Former Vice President Joe Biden will speak about "the DNI whistleblower report and President Trump’s ongoing abuse of power," according to a campaign press release. It will happen at 2:30 p.m. ET in Wilmington, Delaware.

We will cover this live here.

Some context: President Trump asked his acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney to put a hold on millions in military aid to Ukraine roughly one week before a call with the Ukrainian president in which he pressured the country to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden's son, two senior administration officials said on Monday.