Speed Reads

the debate begins

Pelosi says it's 'tragic' that impeachment is 'necessary' as debate begins

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) officially opened Wednesday's impeachment debate by saying it's "tragic" that President Trump "gave us no choice" but to act.

Pelosi spoke on the floor of the House of Representatives after a procedural step cleared the way for six hours of debate, which will end with a vote on two articles of impeachment: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. The House's impeachment inquiry has focused on Trump's effort to push Ukraine to announce investigations that might help him in the 2020 presidential election.

"It is tragic that the president's reckless actions make impeachment necessary," Pelosi said. "He gave us no choice."

Pelosi also said that if Congress does "not act now, we would be derelict in our duty," labeling Trump an "ongoing threat to our national security and the integrity of our elections."

Pelosi was followed by Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.), who in his speech said this debate "should surprise no one" because "from the very moment that the majority party in this House won, the inevitability that we would be here today was only a matter of what date they would schedule it." Brendan Morrow