"Today, I'm announcing the House of Representatives moving forward with an official impeachment inquiry," Pelosi said at a Capitol Hill press conference. "The president must be held accountable. No one is above the law."
For months, the pressure has piled on Pelosi and other moderate Democrats to move forward with impeaching Trump. Until the Ukraine revelations, they've largely resisted the urge, calculating that the smarter political move is to let the bad publicity stack up and then beat Trump in 2020.
Tuesday, three North Texas moderates joined with Pelosi and made their move.
Dallas-based U.S. Rep. Colin Allred, a former NFL player and appointee of former President Barack Obama, issued an ultimatum:
“I swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States and to uphold our nation’s laws. A whistleblower within the intelligence community has alleged that a gross abuse of power has occurred involving the use of American foreign policy against a domestic political rival," Allred said early Tuesday. "The law is clear that the director of national intelligence must provide Congress with a report of the whistleblower’s complaint.
"This Thursday, when the director appears before the House Intelligence Committee, I expect that he will comply with the law and turn over the complaint to the committee. If he does not, and this administration continues to violate the law and obstruct Congress’ constitutional duty, I will be forced to conclude that the only remaining option is for the House to begin impeachment proceedings.”
Immediately following Allred's statement, the National Republican Campaign Committee — which is targeting the seat Allred won in 2018 in 2020 — took a swing at the freshman congressman.
"Colin Allred inched ever closer toward jumping off the impeachment cliff today, threatening to impeach President Trump if his demands are not met," the group said. "Just a reminder, impeachment remains grossly unpopular among voters. Maybe Allred should tone down the tough guy act and try listening to his constituents for a change."
Democrat Marc Veasey, who represents portions of southern Tarrant and Dallas counties in a safe Democratic district, was less equivocal in voicing his support for looking into impeachment.
"While we are still gathering the full facts of what occurred between the president and the foreign leader, I believe Congress must act now in the face of our president’s continued dangerous behavior," Veasey said. "No one is above the law — not even the occupant of the highest office — and that is why I support moving forward with an impeachment inquiry."
"No one is above the law — not even the occupant of the highest office — and that is why I support moving forward with an impeachment inquiry." — Marc Veasey
Allred, Veasey and four other members of Texas' Democratic congressional delegation — including Dallas' Eddie Bernice Johnson — said for the first time Tuesday they were at least open to the idea of impeaching Trump.
"If the decision is made by the president and his administration to withhold this information from Congress, or if the allegations of his abuse of power are substantiated, I will be placed in a position where I must fulfill my constitutional duty and support impeachment proceedings,” Johnson said.