Cue your Michael Scott gifs, everyone, because it's happening. On Sept. 24, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announced that the House of Representatives would open a formal impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump. No matter what side of the aisle you fall on, it's clear that things are definitely heating up, and these tweets about the House's impeachment inquiry announcement show a lot of people are losing it. Immediately following Pelosi's announcement, Trump tweeted the words, "PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT!"
On Sept. 24, Pelosi publicly announced that the House would undertake a formal impeachment inquiry, a first step towards a possible impeachment filing and/or vote. "Today, I'm announcing the House of Representatives is moving forward with an official impeachment inquiry," she said. "I'm directing our six committees to proceed with their investigations under that umbrella of impeachment inquiry." In a statement to Elite Daily, White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham referred to the inquiry as Democrats' attempts to "weaponize politics." She added, "Nothing new here.”
Whispers (and shouts) about impeachment have been circulating in recent days, after The Washington Post reported on Sept. 18 that an anonymous whistleblower had filed a complaint against the president for allegedly making a troubling "promise" to a foreign leader. In a press conference on Sept. 20, the president called the report "ridiculous" and claimed that the anonymous whistleblower was "partisan." The complaint, which has not been made public, reportedly involves a call that the president made to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in which he allegedly pushed on Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate and possible rival to Trump in the election cycle. Trump has acknowledged discussing Biden, but not any alleged pressure on Zelensky. "The conversation I had was largely congratulatory, was largely corruption ... largely the fact that we don't want our people like Vice President Biden and his son [adding to the corruption]," Trump said, per CNN.
While the president later promised to release a transcript of the call with Zelensky, many critics were unsatisfied with the promise, noting that the reported complaint allegedly contains troubling incidents beyond the call and raising concerns that the White House would not be fully forthcoming in releasing all relevant details of the call. As criticism mounted and the number of politicians publicly calling for impeachment jumped, Pelosi took to the podium to announce that, yes, the House would begin a formal inquiry.
“The president must be held accountable,” she said, following a meeting with fellow Democrats. “No one is above the law.”
Unsurprisingly, the president hit back, calling it a "witch hunt" and "presidential harassment" on Twitter.
But for many who have been following the Trump administration's multiple scandals, the announcement clearly seemed like a long time coming. Across the internet, people took to social media to share the real-time memes of their jaws dropping.
While the tweets and memes were real, a lot of people also felt that the moment was too serious to really joke about. Many noted the seriousness of the move, and speculated what the future might bring.
In her announcement, Pelosi said she had directed the heads of the six House committees, including the Judiciary and Oversight committees, to pursue investigations into Trump with the possibility of impeachment in mind. However, the inquiry is not to say that Trump will be formally impeached. The House would still have to file articles of impeachment, followed by a vote to impeach, and after that would come a trial in the Senate and a vote on whether to convict (which requires a two-thirds majority). Only then would the president be officially impeached.
While the inquiry is only the first step in the long, long road of the impeachment process, it's the first time that Pelosi, a powerful figure in politics, has lent her support to the idea. Although progressive Democrats have long been calling for impeachment, Pelosi has been hesitant to make that move. But clearly, that moment has passed.
So, will this lead Trump to that Senate trial, or just fizzle away? Will we all see a president impeached in our lifetimes? Can I make my microwave popcorn fast enough to enjoy warm while watching this drama unfold? Politics is the realm of questions.