Montgomery voters have elected the capital city’s first Black mayor in a two-to-one landslide.
Montgomery County Probate Judge Steven Reed defeated television station owner David Woods in Tuesday’s runoff, far exceeding his margin in the first election six weeks ago.
With 46 of 48 precincts in, Reed had 32,511 votes, or 67%. Woods had 15,891 votes, or 33%.
Speaking to cheering supporters packed shoulder-to-shoulder at a victory party, Reed talked about uniting the city and helping it reach its potential.
“We have been focused from day one about the things that make us better, the things that unite us,” Reed said. “And this is what I see in this crowd, and this is what I see in the results of tonight is a unified Montgomery. And let the record show that.”
Reed didn’t talk about being Montgomery’s first Black mayor but did talk about the election as a chance for defining change.
“Today is about the vision,” Reed said. “The vision we have for people far beyond this room. Some of the people who could not be here. But it encompasses and it connects all of them. And that’s what we have been saying and that’s what we want to make sure we continue tomorrow, and the next day and the next day. Because that is what is going to define this city. And that’s what’s going to define this election.
‘It’s not going to be about the first. It’s not even going to be about the best. It’s going to be about the impact that we make on the lives of others.”
Reed had led a field of a dozen candidates in the Aug. 27 election, getting about 42% of the vote. Woods ran second with about 24%.
Reed will replace Todd Strange, who did not seek reelection. Strange has been mayor since 2009.
Changes in the mayor’s office don’t come often in the 200-year-old Alabama capital city. Before Strange, Bobby Bright held the position for a decade after defeating incumbent Emory Folmar, who was mayor from 1977 to 1999.
Reed is the son of Joe Reed, the longtime leader of the Alabama Democratic Conference, the state’s predominant Black political organization.
Sep. 28, 2019 (GIN) – In a new low water mark for Zimbabwe’s troubled economy, two million people in Zimbabwe’s capital have now been left without water after the government ran out of foreign currency to pay for imported water treatment chemicals.
Zimbabwe’s capital city shut its main water works on Monday, potentially leaving the city dry and raising the risk of water borne diseases.
The Harare water shortages follow months of drought in rural areas and fast-falling water levels in polluted dams around the country. Amid reports of soaring diarrhea cases in the capital, concern is growing over the possible spread of cholera and typhoid – dozens died in cholera outbreaks in Zimbabwe last year.
An El Nino-induced drought has reduced water levels in the country’s dams, including Kariba, which supplies the biggest hydroelectric plant and hit the capacity of cities and towns to supply water to residents.
Harare City Council deputy mayor Enock Mupamawonde told reporters that the local authority required at least 40 million Zimbabwe dollars ($2.7 million) a month for water chemicals but it was only collecting 15 million Zimbabwe dollars in monthly revenue.
It is devastating to say the least,” Mupamawonde told reporters, urging President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government to declare the water crisis a national disaster.
Wealthier residents are able to buy tankers of water for a price well beyond the means of most people.
According to the IMF, inflation in Zimbabwe is now the highest in the world.
Despite the nation’s hardships, questionable spending continues at the highest levels of power. President Mnangagwa reportedly took a bloated entourage of 90 people to last month’s U.N. General Assembly in New York, including Zanu PF youths who took part in an anti-sanctions demonstration there on Monday.
Mnangagwa’s wife, Auxilia, reportedly flew to the US separately with her own sizable delegation, which included her security team, officials from her Angels of Hope charity organisation and a crew of journalists from the state media.
Both teams are reported to be enjoying hefty allowances funded by Treasury, at a time the government has been asking the citizenry to endure the pain induced by its austerity measures, which have severely eroded incomes and impoverished the majority of the population.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwean ex-leader Robert Mugabe was buried in his home village of Kutama on Saturday. His family chose a private funeral after a weeks-long dispute with the administration.
A priest asked God to take pity on the independence fighter as the family of the longtime Zimbabwean leader buried him Saturday at his rural home. They chose a private service after a weeks-long dispute with the administration that forced him from power.
For more than a decade, economists, lawmakers and others have heralded the nation’s economy. Often citing how unemployment has declined as new jobs have been created, or Wall Street trading and major bank profits rising, some might be led to believe that all is well in America.
But as Sportin’ Life in the folk opera “Porgy and Bess” sang, “It ain’t necessarily so.”
On Sept. 16, California Gov. Gavin Newsom joined by state officials representing cities and counties wrote a letter that urged President Donald Trump to recognize homelessness as a “national crisis decades in the making that demands action at every level of government to alleviate California’s homeless.
Carson’s Sept. 18 reply said in part, “California cannot spend its way out of this problem using Federal funds…More vouchers are clearly not the solution the State needs. To address this crisis, California must reduce its regulatory burdens on housing.”
Advocates for homeless and low-income people strongly disagreed with Carson’s assessment. “We know that the number one cause of homelessness is the lack of affordable housing,” said Megan Hustings, managing director of the National Coalition for the Homeless.
“Consumers are already struggling with crushing debt from student loans and medical expenses, or facing triple-digit interest rates when they attempt to access small-dollar loans,” noted Marisabel Torres, director of California Policy with the Center for Responsible Lending, “When they also have to pay some of the highest housing costs in the nation, it is unfortunately unsurprising that there are such large numbers of homeless people in many of California’s large cities.
“California’s homeless may be the largest by state, but the problem is a national one that deserves to be recognized and acted upon,” Torres said.
In 1987 there was an expression of national will to respond to America’s homeless through enactment of the McKinney Homeless Act. That statute created the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness dedicating the ongoing support of 19 federal agencies to prevent and end homelessness. HUD is one of the participating agencies. The Council on Homelessness even has a written plan, “Home, Together,” that lays out federal remedies over the fiscal years of 2018-2022.
Charlene Crowell is the communications deputy director with the Center for Responsible Lending. She can be reached at Charlene.firstname.lastname@example.org. This post originally appeared in The Washington Informer.
When Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised their arms with black gloves on their fists during the medal ceremony at the 1968 Summer Olympics, the crowd booed loudly to show its disapproval.
Smith and Carlos finished first and third in the 200-meter dash. The two raised their arms during the Star Spangled Banner to protest racism in the U.S.
Smith won the Gold Medal, setting a world record of 19.83 seconds, and Carlos won the Bronze Medal. Peter Norman of Australia won the Silver Medal.
The crowd booed even louder as the two men walked off the winners’ podium wearing black socks and no shoes. U.S. Olympic officials ordered Smith and Carlos to leave the Olympic village.
Brent Musburger, Chicago sportswriter, called Smith and Carlos “black-skinned storm troopers” for their clenched fist power salute. His comments appeared in Chicago American, later renamed Chicago Today. The newspaper is now out of business.
Musburger, now radio play-by-play announcer for the Oakland Raiders, never explained what the two sprinters were protesting. The article’s headline read “Bizarre Protest by Smith, Carlos Tarnishes Medals.”
It’s safe to say, Chicago American’s newsroom was all-white and all male.
Time magazine said the protest by Smith and Carlos made the Olympic games ugly.
More than 50 years after the Smith and Carlos were ordered to leave the Olympic Village, the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee announced it will induct Smith and Carlos and seven others into the Olympic Hall of Fame. The two men will be inducted during a ceremony November 1 in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where the committee is based.
Carlos, now 74, doesn’t think about Musburger who never has apologized for his comments.
Carlos told U.S.A. Today Sports, “Well you know, Brent Musburger doesn’t even exist in my mind. So I don’t even know. He didn’t mean anything to me 51 years ago. He doesn’t mean anything to me today. Because he’s been proven to be wrong.” Smith is now 75.
The pending hall of fame induction of Smith and Carlos follows an apology by the University of Wyoming to former black football players who were kicked off the team because they wanted to ask about wearing black armbands in a game against Brigham Young University.
After the Olympics, Smith and Carlos were ostracized by white sports writers. They both worked various jobs, including some coaching.
Before the 1968 Summer Olympics, my friends considered them heroes because of their abilities to sprint faster than most people on Earth. Smith was competing in a track meet at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington, where I grew up. At least five of us went to the meet. When we saw Smith stretching on the infield, we surrounded him. None of said anything, we just gazed at him. We believed we were in the presence of God.
Peter Norman did not fare as well after the games. The Australian government ostracized Norman and never forgave him for supporting Smith and Carlos.
Norman died in 2006. Smith and Carlos each gave eulogies and were pall bearers at his funeral.
A jury on Tuesday found former Dallas Police officer Amber Guyger guilty of murder in the 2018 shooting death of Botham Jean, a black man, in his own apartment.
Guyger mistakenly entered Jean’s home in the same apartment complex and immediately assumed he was a burglar.
Jean was sitting on the couch, watching television and eating vanilla ice cream.
Guyger testified through tears while shaking her blonde hair, Jean walked towards her in a manner she deemed malevolent.
Guyger claimed she feared for her life, an excuse cops are trained to use before firing their service revolvers. She fired, shooting him in the heart. He died later at Baylor Medical Center.
The jury could have found Guyger guilty of murder, manslaughter or acquitted her.
After Judge Tammy Kemp read the verdict, loud cheers erupted throughout the court building. Guyger, who had been fired by the police department following the shooting, sat stoically. She later wiped tears from her eyes. Jean’s family traveled from his native St. Lucia for the two-week trial, cried tears of joy. Allison Jean, Botham’s mother joyfully raised her hands in the air.
Guyger faces five to 99 years in prison.
Although some view Guyger’s conviction—a white woman cop convicted of murdering an unarmed black man— as a milestone. It is and it isn’t.
In 2016, Betty Shelby, a former Tulsa, Oklahoma, cop shot to death Terence Crutcher, an unarmed motorist. Crutcher had his hands raised in air after his car had broken down alongside the road. A jury found her not guilty of manslaughter. Shelby went to work for another police department.
In another deadly shooting by police of an unarmed black man in Sacramento, California, police officers returned to duty after not being charged in the murder of Stephon Clark.
The U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California and the FBI found insufficient evidence to support federal criminal charges against Terrance Mercadal and Jaret Robinet in the shooting death of Clark who was standing in his grandmother’s backyard holding a mobile phone which the cops took to be a pistol. The FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s office issued the ruling September 27.
Mercadal and Robinet shot Clark, the father of two, seven times on March 18, 2018. However, an independent autopsy showed that Clark was shot six times in the back.
By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Correspondent @StacyBrownMedia
Dr. Lonnie Bunch III, the 14th Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, sat down for an exclusive interview with National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) President and CEO Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr., at the National Museum of African American History and Culture. The two discussed Bunch’s timely new book, “A Fool’s Errand: Creating the National Museum of African American History and Culture in the Age of Bush, Obama, and Trump.” “I [initially] saw this journey to build a museum that could help bridge the chasms that divide us as a ‘fool’s’ errand,’” Dr. Bunch said. The book outlines the multitude of challenges Bunch faced when pursuing the construction of the historical museum. Those challenges included choosing the location; architect; design team; and the collection of unique pieces of African American artifacts. He added that the museum was “an errand worthy of the burdens.” Available from Smithsonian Books on the organization’s website and at Amazon.com, “A Fool’s Errand” is a tour de force of Bunch’s personal and political accomplishments. During the intimate video-taped interview inside the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the two visionaries also tackled topics that ranged from the Transatlantic Slave Trade, their shared North Carolina families’ histories, the writing legacy of author James Baldwin, and the contemporary vitality of the Black Press of America. “The relevance and inclusion of the Black Press in events such as this one, show the continued significance of the Black Press,” NNPA Chair Karen Carter Richards, said after the interview between Chavis and Bunch. “The Black Press is alive and well, and we will continue to be the daily recorders of our history across the globe. Although we’ve seen many changes within our industry; these changes are bringing better opportunities for the Black Press,” Richards said.“So, we are honored that Dr. Lonnie Bunch has chosen to include us as a part of this important national media event,” she said. While in graduate school, Bunch desired to write a dissertation about the Black Press, he said. However, naysayers told him the Black Press was unimportant. He said that theory quickly was proven wrong. “I knew it was,” Bunch said. “I think the Black Press has always been the guardian of our community. It’s always been the place where facts are found that are not told in other places. It’s a place where you can understand the richness of the community. “What I love about the Black Press today is that it’s a place that reminds people of the power of the African American community… the Black Press is critically important. “What [The Black Press] does is it reminds us that there are many different lenses to understand a story. If you don’t have the lens to the African American community, where are you going to find your story? For me, the Black Press is crucial not for the past, but for the future,” Bunch said. Bunch said he sought out to obtain a building that would reference the spirituality, resilience, and hope that have been key elements within the African American community. Elements he said that have shaped America’s identity in ways most Americans do not understand. He said the revolution in South Africa reinforced his belief that history is an effective tool to change a country by embracing the truth of a painful past. The museum opened three years ago to much fanfare, with former presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush, among others, in attendance. “To some, visiting the museum allows them to find hope … that the current poisonous political partisanship and racial antipathy will one day be overcome,” Bunch said. A historian, author, educator, and curator, Bunch has enjoyed a career of near unapparelled success. Bunch has held numerous teaching positions, including American University in Washington, D.C. (Bunch’s Alma Mater); the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth; and the George Washington University in Washington, D.C. Bunch was elected in 2017 to become a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He’s also the recipient of the President’s Award from the NAACP, and the Impact Leader Award from the Greater Washington Urban League. Last year, the Phi Beta Kappa Society presented Bunch with the Phi Betta Kappa Award for Distinguished Service to the Humanities and the National Education Association honored him with the Award for Distinguished Service to Education. Earlier this year, Bunch was appointed Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, the first African American to hold that position in the organization’s 173-year history. He oversees 19 museums, 21 libraries, the National Zoo, numerous research centers, and several education units and centers. Now, with “A Fool’s Errand,” Bunch said he has a simple message to convey.“History matters,” he told Chavis. “You can’t understand yourself or the future without looking back. History is an amazing tool to live your life. More than anything else, it challenges you to be accurate,” Watch the full interview between Dr. Chavis and Dr. Bunch here at BlackPressUSA.com.
Sept. 23, 2019 (GIN) – Congolese people seeking a vaccine against the Ebola epidemic could be getting the run-around by the World Health Organization (WHO) which stands accused of rationing the distribution of a drug deemed highly effective against the deadly disease.
The humanitarian medical group Doctors Without Borders (MSF) criticized the pace of ongoing inoculations “too slow” and “largely insufficient”
According to MSF, between 450,000 and 600,000 people should have been immunized by now – more than double the actual number.
MSF blamed “tight controls on supply and eligibility criteria” over the vaccine produced by the U.S.-pharmaceutical company Merck. They called for an international, independent committee to oversee vaccination efforts instead.
The WHO dismissed the charge, saying it was only implementing a strategy recommended by an independent advisory body of experts and as agreed with the government of the D.R.C. and partners.”
In the current outbreak, 3,157 cases and 2,108 deaths were reported as of Sept. 19, when the WHO admitted that disease transmission had worsened, with 57 new cases that week, versus 40 the week before. The affected region includes the provinces of North Kivu and Ituri, in the northeastern part of the country, near the borders of Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan.
So far, around 225,000 people have received the Ebola vaccination manufactured by the American pharma giant Merck since August 8, 2018.
Another experimental vaccine, manufactured by the US-based firm Johnson & Johnson (J&J), is due to be introduced from mid-October in areas which do not have “active Ebola transmission”, the U.N. health agency said this week.
J&J’s vaccine requires two injections eight weeks apart. The Merck vaccine, estimated to be 97.5 percent effective, requires a single shot.
Congo’s previous minister of health, Dr. Oly Ilunga, strongly opposed using any vaccine but the Merck one, saying people had come to trust it and would be unlikely to accept a new one. He resigned in July after Congo’s president took control of the Ebola response. In his resignation letter, Ilunga cited outside pressure to deploy the J&J product and accused unspecified “actors” of showing a “lack of ethics” over the issue.
Dr. Ilunga was arrested on Sept. 14, accused of mismanaging some $4 million meant for the Ebola response, a claim that his lawyers deny.
By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Correspondent @StacyBrownMedia
AKA leadertship with HBCU Presidents
For the second year in a row, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, the oldest Greek-letter organization established by African American college-educated women, raised $1 million in just 24 hours during this month’s HBCU Impact Day. The AKA Sorority, Inc. also has agreed to collaborate in the planning for the upcoming 80th-anniversary celebration of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) in 2020. Dr. Glenda Glover, International President of Alpha Kappa Alpha, Inc., said the sorority would work with NNPA Chair Karen Carter Richards and NNPA President and CEO Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr., during the NNPA’s annual convention June 23-25, 2020 in New Orleans. “When you need to know the positive stories – the real stories – about African Americans, then you understand our dependence on the Black Press for our news,” said Dr. Glover, the international president of AKA and president of the historically-Black Tennessee State University. “It is my honor to be a part of this. Alpha Kappa Alpha has been a partner to the Black Press even right here in Nashville with the Tennessee Tribune,” she said. While the first African American-owned newspaper was founded 192 years ago, the establishment of the NNPA took place in 1940 during a meeting in Chicago. Since its founding, the NNPA has advocated for the Black Press of America and delivering news to millions of people daily and weekly from the African American perspective. The NNPA is the national trade association that currently represents a vast conglomerate of more than 223 Black-owned newspapers throughout the country that comprise the Black Press of America. For her part, Dr. Glover and the AKAs have steadfastly continued to promote support of HBCUs across the nation. Dr. Glover has led that challenge for contributions as part of a four-year $10 million fundraising goal to benefit HBCUs. “As a college president, I need to recognize the need for HBCUs. I need to recognize the operating needs, and the financial needs because we need funds to survive,” Dr. Glover said. “I asked my membership to support this initiative. We galvanized members, individuals, and corporate sponsors. We kept going back again, and again,” she said. “It’s a tremendous feat to raise $1 million in one day, but we knew HBCUs needed to have funding, sustainability, and we have to make sure to secure the endowments of each university,” she said. In February, AKA gifted $1.6 million from their AKA-HBCU Endowment Fund to 32 HBCUs. As an HBCU graduate, Glover said she has dedicated her life’s work to the HBCU community. “I understand the impact personally that establishing an endowment has on a student’s enrollment and graduation prospects,” Dr. Glover said. “The actions of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. will go a long way toward ensuring that HBCUs remain open and able to encourage the best black students to choose them as a first option,” she said. AKA began on the campus of Howard University in Washington, D.C., in 1908. Today, nearly 300,000 members make up the sorority in approximately 1,018 graduate and undergraduate chapters in the U.S., the U.S. Virgin Islands, Liberia, the Bahamas, Bermuda, Canada, Dubai, Germany, Japan, and South Korea.
By Linda Givetash, David Ingram and Farah Otero-Amad, NBC News
Climate strike rally at Federal Courthouse in Opelika, Alabama (photo by Jim Allen)
Crowds of children flooded the streets of major cities in a global show of force Friday to demand action on climate change, with many young people skipping school in protest and sharing a unified message aimed at world leaders.
Rallies were held across Alabama including Tuscaloosa, Huntsville, Birmingham, Mobile and east Alabama at Opelika.
“No matter how many times they try to ignore the issue, you can see every teenager in the area is here,” said Isha Venturi, a 15-year-old high school sophomore from New Jersey who joined tens of thousands in New York’s lower Manhattan taking part in a second “Global Climate Strike.”
“We’re not quiet anymore,” she added, “and change is coming.”
From New York to London and San Francisco to Sydney, Australia, not just children but other groups took part in the strikes, including trade unions, environmental organizations and employees at large tech companies such as Amazon and Google. And their demands were similar: reducing the use of fossil fuels to try to halt climate change.
“As leaders, we’ve failed them,” Halima Adan, 36, of Somalia, said amid the large number of young people in New York, where the city’s 1.1 million public school students were told they could skip classes to attend protests.
Adan, who was in the city for the Peoples’ Summit on Climate, organized by the United Nations Human Rights Office and others, said her own war-torn African nation has felt the effects of “every aspect of [the] climate crisis.”
In a day of coordinated global action, when millions were expected to protest:
• Australia saw some of the first protests kick off Friday morning with organizers estimating that upwards of 300,000 students and workers filled the streets of Melbourne, Sydney and other cities in the biggest protests the country has seen in years.
• New Delhi, India, one of the world’s most polluted cities, saw dozens of students and environmental activists chant “we want climate action” while hundreds marched in Thailand’s capital Bangkok, before staging a “die-in” outside the Ministry of Natural Resources
• In London, thousands of people from infants to grandparents blocked traffic outside the Houses of Parliament chanting “save our planet.”
• Crowds gathered in European capitals, including Berlin and Warsaw, Poland, and African capitals such as Nairobi, Kenya, while organizers said there are some 800 events planned across the U.S.
“The climate crisis is an emergency — we want everyone to start acting like it. We demand climate justice for everyone,” organizers said on one website dedicated to Friday’s protests, adding that there was action planned in more than 150 countries.
A coalition of environmental groups, youth organizations and others using the hashtag #strikewithus have demanded passage of a “Green New Deal.”
The climate strike movement began as a weekly demonstration led by Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg in August 2018.
The latest worldwide demonstrations are timed to nearly coincide with Monday’s U.N. Climate Summit in New York, where U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said he wants to see governments and businesses pledge to abandon fossil fuels. “We are losing the fight against climate change,” he said at a news conference on Wednesday, according to Reuters.
Anna Taylor, 18, who co-founded the climate strikes movement in the U.K., addressed a crowd in London on Friday that young people are now “desperate.”
Writer Lavinia Richards, 41, said she decided to take the day off work to join the London march when her 6-year-old son, Ruben, asked to join.
“I was pleased that he wants to do the right thing and he’s standing up for what he believes in,” she said. “If these children are brought up to be ethical and responsible, then maybe there is a chance.”
Ruben told NBC News that he wanted to strike in hopes of seeing Thunberg, his role model, and “to save the rainforest and all the tarantulas and the gorillas.”
“Some people think there is going to be a sixth mass extinction, so we don’t really want that to happen,” said Rosa Cormcain, 9, with her group of friends carrying signs that read “there is no planet b” and “don’t be a fossil fool.”
Protesters blocked roads around London’s Parliament, waving flags, beating drums, chanting and singing in the sunshine for hours. At 1 p.m. local time, strikers honked horns, rang bells, blew whistles and cheered in an effort to sound the alarm for action on climate change.
“If we don’t take action now … it won’t be a certain amount of people who will suffer, it will be everyone on this planet,” said activist Al Shadjareh, 16.
Shadjareh and his peers point to warnings from scientists, including an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report from last year, that forecast severe consequences for the environment and human life if global temperatures rise more than 2.7 degrees.
More than 2,300 companies around the globe from a variety of industries, including law, tourism and technology, have joined the Not Business As Usual alliance and pledged to support their workers to strike with students on Friday.
Global brands including Ben & Jerry’s and Lush announced they would be closing their stores on the day of the protest.
Thousands of tech workers say they are planning to join the protests in the middle of their workdays, showing a renewed level of political activism in Silicon Valley where software engineers and other employees traditionally haven’t spoken up in public against their bosses.
Amazon Employees for Climate Justice said it expected more than 1,600 employees would walk off their job sites to protest what they called the company’s lack of action in addressing the climate crisis. It will be the first strike at Amazon’s Seattle headquarters in the company’s 25-year history, according to Wired magazine.
WASHINGTON — After months of tamping down calls for impeachment, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Tuesday that she’s on board, a move that could upend Donald Trump’s presidency just barely a year out from the 2020 election.
“Today I’m announcing the House of Representatives is moving forward with an official impeachment inquiry,” the speaker told reporters after meeting with the Democratic caucus Tuesday afternoon. Pelosi said she will direct six House committees to investigate Trump “under that umbrella of impeachment inquiry,” adding, “The president must be held accountable. No one is above the law.”
While the Judiciary Committee has already begun an impeachment investigation, Pelosi announced that the Intelligence, Foreign Affairs, Oversight, Ways and Means, and Financial Services committees will now formally join them in a broader inquiry.
The committees’ investigation is just a first step toward impeachment — a majority of the full House would still need to vote on articles of impeachment in order to indict Trump. The Senate is then responsible for holding an impeachment trial, but Republicans are unlikely to pursue one.
Pelosi’s announcement comes amid reports that Trump withheld aid from Ukraine and pressured its president to investigate former vice president Joe Biden’s family ahead of the 2020 election.
Trump’s reaction to the announcement, predictably, was a series of tweets sent from Trump Tower as Pelosi spoke and in the minutes after. In one, he wrote that Democrats “purposely had to ruin and demean” his “important” day at the United Nations “with more breaking news Witch Hunt garbage.” He also noted that Democrats hadn’t yet seen a transcript of his call with the Ukrainian president.
Democrats’ messaging on impeachment has been muddled in recent weeks. The Judiciary Committee has begun the formal process of setting up an impeachment investigation, and many of its members have argued since July that the House is already in an inquiry stage. While Pelosi had backed those efforts, she resisted calls for impeachment.
More than 170 Democrats had come out in support of an impeachment inquiry as of Tuesday afternoon, including many members in more conservative districts. Their support for the measure appeared to finally sway Pelosi, who has argued for months that the House cannot pursue an inquiry without having all the facts and has publicly worried impeachment would be too divisive and could lose Democrats their majority.
Congresswoman Terri Sewell of the Alabama 7th District was among those who announced her support for the Impeachment investigation following Speaker Pelosi’s lead.
CNN reported Tuesday afternoon that Pelosi was encouraging her members to state their positions on an inquiry now, in order to make it clear to the public that there is a groundswell of support in the caucus. Pelosi also reportedly said she believes now that the American public understands the issue.
Several Democratic presidential contenders have announced or renewed calls for Trump to be impeached as the Ukraine story has unfolded. And many of the speaker’s allies announced their support for an inquiry Tuesday ahead of Pelosi’s own announcement.
“We cannot delay. We must not wait. Now is the time to act,” Rep. John Lewis of Georgia said on the House floor. “I have been patient as we tried every other path and used every other tool … I truly believe the time to begin impeachment proceedings against this president has come.”
While the full story about Trump’s recent phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky remains unclear, the Washington Post reported on Monday that Trump put a hold on $400 million in aid to the country in the days before the call. When the two leaders did speak, Trump reportedly pushed for information on Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, who had a seat on the board of a Ukrainian natural gas company. (Notably, Joe Biden is currently leading the Democratic primary field.)
The House and Senate have been working to get information related to a whistleblower’s complaint, which is reportedly related to Trump’s interactions with Ukraine, but have been stymied by the Trump administration. Pelosi also announced that the House will hold a vote Wednesday to formally condemn Trump’s attempts to block Congress from obtaining the complaint. The Senate passed a (similarly nonbinding) resolution Tuesday afternoon requesting a copy of the whistleblower’s complaint as well.
Trump tweeted Tuesday that he had ordered the “complete, fully declassified and unredacted transcript of my phone conversation with President Zelensky of Ukraine” to be released on Wednesday. “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!,” he wrote.
But Democrats were quick to say that releasing the transcript was not enough, and soon after Trump’s announcement, Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff made an announcement of his own, saying on Twitter that the whistleblower who originally raised concerns about the call wanted to speak to the committee and has requested guidance from the acting director of National Intelligence about how to do so.
“We‘re in touch with counsel and look forward to the whistleblower’s testimony as soon as this week,” Schiff wrote.
Paul McLeod contributed to this story.