The House of Representatives is debating articles of impeachment Wednesday against President Donald Trump.
House Speaker Pelosi recited the Pledge of Allegiance while opening the debate that will discuss articles of obstruction of Congress and abuse of power.
"Very sadly now, our founders vision of a republic is under threat from actions of the White House,” she said on Capitol Hill. “That is why today, as speaker of the house, I solemnly and sadly open the debate on the impeachment of the president of the United States.”
Pelosi said Trump's "reckless" actions made the impeachment "necessary" and the U.S. president "gave us no choice."
"Today, we are here to defend democracy for the people," she said.
The debate is slated to last six hours and then the lawmakers will vote separately on each count.
No Republicans are expected to vote to impeach Trump.
If the vote goes as expected, it will set the stage for a trial of Trump in the Senate. There, a two-thirds vote of members is needed to eject Trump from the Oval Office, meaning the Republican majority in the upper house can easily block the Democrats.
The House's impeachment process is centered on Trump's multiple requests to Zelensky to declare criminal investigations into leading Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, as well as claims that it was Ukraine, not Russia, who meddled in the 2016 election.
Also at issue is the holdup of $400 million in congressionally appropriated military aid to Ukraine and whether Trump conditioned its release and a possible Oval Office meeting with Zelensky on the Ukrainian president publicly announcing the investigations.
The House previously voted only twice on articles of impeachment against a sitting president.
Presidents Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton were acquitted in Senate trials. Trump now becomes the third president to face impeachment articles in the Senate.
Richard Nixon stepped down from office to avoid removal as part of the Watergate scandal.Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.