Trump to meet Ukraine president after impeachment inquiry announcement

Photograph: Evan Vucci/AP

Donald Trump will meet with Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Wednesday, as the president finds himself at the center of one of the most extraordinary periods in recent US history.

after Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the House would begin formal impeachment inquiry. Trump is the fourth president in US history to face such an extraordinary investigation.” data-reactid=”17″>The timing of the pre-planned meeting with Zelenskiy, in New York City, comes less than 24 hours after Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the House would begin formal impeachment inquiry. Trump is the fourth president in US history to face such an extraordinary investigation.

At the heart of that inquiry is Trump’s 25 July phone call with Zelenskiy, and whether Trump pressured the Ukraine leader to investigate Joe Biden, the current frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination for the 2020 election.

Pelosi announces impeachment inquiry into Trump over Ukraine scandal” data-reactid=”19″>Related: Pelosi announces impeachment inquiry into Trump over Ukraine scandal

Trump accused the Democrats of being “frozen with hatred and fear”, and repeated his claim that he was the victim of a “witch-hunt”.” data-reactid=”20″>On Wednesday morning Trump accused the Democrats of being “frozen with hatred and fear”, and repeated his claim that he was the victim of a “witch-hunt”.

The White House has indicated it may release details of a whistleblower’s complaint, related to the call, on Thursday. Trump, who has denied wrongdoing, has said the administration will release an unredacted transcript of the 25 July conversation on Wednesday.

“The actions taken to date by the president have seriously violated the constitution,” Pelosi said as she announced the impeachment inquiry on Tuesday evening. “The president must be held accountable. No one is above the law.”

Ukrainian president to investigate the son of Joe Biden, the former vice-president and the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination to compete for the White House in the 2020 presidential election.” data-reactid=”23″>The speaker’s announcement follows allegations that Trump pressured the Ukrainian president to investigate the son of Joe Biden, the former vice-president and the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination to compete for the White House in the 2020 presidential election.

tweet on Wednesday, Trump said: “There has been no president in the history of our country who has been treated so badly as I have.”” data-reactid=”24″>In an early morning tweet on Wednesday, Trump said: “There has been no president in the history of our country who has been treated so badly as I have.”

Impeachment: how does it work and what happens next?” data-reactid=”25″>Related: Impeachment: how does it work and what happens next?

He added: “The Democrats are frozen with hatred and fear. They get nothing done. This should never be allowed to happen to another president. Witch Hunt!”

reportedly freezing $400m in aid to Ukraine days before speaking with Zelenskiy.” data-reactid=”27″>Trump has admitted that he discussed Biden on a call with Zelenskiy, but has denied any suggestion of a “quid pro quo”, despite reportedly freezing $400m in aid to Ukraine days before speaking with Zelenskiy.

It adds up to a critical couple of days for Trump. He will meet with Zelenskiy at 2.15pm ET on the sidelines of the United Nations general assembly on Wednesday, before holding a press conference at 4pm. Trump is likely to be grilled on the substance of his phone call with the Ukraine president and the impeachment inquiry.

On Wednesday Trump delivered a bellicose response to the impeachment inquiry, accusing Democrats of “presidential harassment”.

“Such an important day at the United Nations, so much work and so much success, and the Democrats purposely had to ruin and demean it with more breaking news Witch-Hunt garbage,” Trump tweeted from New York as he attended the UN general assembly there. “So bad for our country!”

Democrats in Washington, Pelosi appeared to have determined that Trump’s alleged conduct and his administration’s refusal to comply with congressional requests for information and testimony had forced the House’s hand, leaving members no choice but to move forward with a formal impeachment inquiry.” data-reactid=”32″>After months of resistance in the face of calls from many fellow Democrats in Washington, Pelosi appeared to have determined that Trump’s alleged conduct and his administration’s refusal to comply with congressional requests for information and testimony had forced the House’s hand, leaving members no choice but to move forward with a formal impeachment inquiry.

Article 1 of the United States constitution gives the House of Representatives the sole power to initiate impeachment and the Senate the sole power to try impeachments of the president. A president can be impeached if they are judged to have committed “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors” – although the constitution does not specify what “high crimes and misdemeanors” are.

The process starts with the House of Representatives passing articles of impeachment. A simple majority of members need to vote in favour of impeachment for it to pass to the next stage. With a full house, that requires 218 of the 435 representatives to vote. Democrats currently control the house, with 235 representatives.

The chief justice of the United States then presides over the proceedings in the Senate, where the president is tried, with senators acting as the jury. For the president to be found guilty two-thirds of senators must vote against them. Republicans currently control the Senate, with 53 of the 100 senators.

Two presidents have previously been impeached, Bill Clinton in 1998, and Andrew Johnson in 1868, though neither were removed from office as a result. Richard Nixon resigned in 1974 before there was a formal vote to impeach him.

During a meeting with the Democratic caucus on Tuesday, Pelosi said that they must “strike while the iron is hot” as she laid out her case for an impeachment inquiry.

“This is a national security issue,” she said, according to a senior aide in the room. “And we cannot let him think that this is a casual thing.”

She vowed to move ahead “expeditiously”.

In her official announcement, Pelosi noted that the chairs of six key House committees already involved in investigating Trump and his administration would make recommendations to the House judiciary committee, which has the authority to handle impeachment. Their reports could help form articles of impeachment brought against the president.

Launching an impeachment inquiry does not necessarily mean that the House will vote to charge the president with “high crimes and misdemeanors”, though that is the likely outcome of such a process. If the House does charge the president, the articles of impeachment would then be sent to the Senate, which is controlled by Republicans who rarely break with Trump.

The president continued to defend his actions on Tuesday.

Trump tweeted. “No pressure and, unlike Joe Biden and his son, NO quid pro quo!” There’s no evidence to support Trump’s repeated claim that Biden improperly used his position as vice president to fire a Ukrainian prosecutor to help his son.” data-reactid=”48″>“You will see it was a very friendly and totally appropriate call,” Trump tweeted. “No pressure and, unlike Joe Biden and his son, NO quid pro quo!” There’s no evidence to support Trump’s repeated claim that Biden improperly used his position as vice president to fire a Ukrainian prosecutor to help his son.

But Pelosi said Trump did not have to explicitly threaten aid to be guilty of an impeachable offense. “There is no requirement there be a quid pro quo in the conversation,” she said, adding that the “sequence” of events suggested that the president acted improperly.

Republicans said Pelosi’s announcement was a rhetorical exercise.

“She cannot unilaterally decide we’re in an impeachment inquiry,” the House minority leader, Kevin McCarthy, said in brief remarks after Pelosi’s address. “What she said today made no difference with what’s been going on.”

Adam Schiff, the head of the House permanent select committee on intelligence, said on Tuesday that the whistleblower would like to speak to the panel and had requested guidance on how to do so.

Impeachment is a course of action with few precedents. Only two presidents have ever been impeached – Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998. Neither were convicted by the Senate. Richard Nixon resigned before a vote on impeachment in the full House could be taken.