Impeachment talk was limited to a vocal minority during President Donald Trump’s first two years in office. It grew louder this year when opposition Democrats took control of the U.S. House of Representatives, where articles of impeachment originate. Throughout, Democratic leaders weren’t ready to suggest that Trump committed “high crimes and misdemeanors” warranting a bid to remove him from office. That changed with the allegation that Trump improperly solicited the help of the Ukrainian president to investigate a political rival.
In a July 25 telephone call, Trump asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to “look into” unsubstantiated allegations of wrongdoing by former Vice President Joe Biden, who is seeking the Democratic Party’s nomination to challenge Trump next year. Trump acknowledges ordering a halt to about $400 million in vital U.S. military aid to Ukraine about a week before the call, which is seen by some as having added leverage to his request. A U.S. intelligence official, whose identity isn’t publicly known, filed a whistle-blower complaint alleging that Trump was “using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 U.S. election.”