(CNBC) — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is expected to announce a formal impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump on Tuesday, NBC News reported, citing two sources close to her.
Earlier Tuesday, Pelosi said that Democrats are “ready,” when asked whether she and her caucus will take steps toward Trump’s impeachment.
“That’s why I’ve said as soon as we have the facts, we’re ready. Now we have the facts, we’re ready … for later today,” Pelosi said at The Atlantic Festival in response to a question about impeachment.
The Washington Post reported earlier Tuesday afternoon that Pelosi would announce a formal impeachment inquiry after meeting with Democratic lawmakers.
She is expected to make a statement at 5 p.m. ET, following meetings with congressional leadership and her caucus, according to NBC.
Pelosi has resisted the pressure from Democrats in the House to support Trump’s impeachment, which has compounded since the release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia report.
But more than a dozen Democrats have come out for impeachment within the past week, following bombshell reports that Trump had asked Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky multiple times to investigate Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, during a phone call in July.
The latest converts include more moderate Democrats, some of whom represent districts that went for Trump in the 2016 presidential election, such as Rep. Abigail Spanberger of Virginia.
Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, also called for an impeachment inquiry Tuesday.
Biden, the Democratic front-runner in the 2020 presidential primary, will say Tuesday afternoon that if Trump does not comploy with congressional inquiries, then lawmakers have no choice but to impeach him.
More than two-thirds of the 235-member House Democratic caucus now support either impeachment or launching an impeachment inquiry, according to NBC’s running count. One independent representative, Michigan’s Justin Amash, also favors an impeachment inquiry.
The Washington Post and other outlets reported Monday that Trump had directed his acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, to withhold hundreds of millions of dollars in military assistance to Ukraine at least a week before the call with Zelensky. The timing of that move, which was criticized at the time as being opaque, has bred speculation that Trump may have used the aid as leverage to pressure Zelensky into investigating Biden.
That aid money was eventually sent earlier in September. Trump has denied that the assistance to Ukraine was mentioned in the call.
Trump, who is New York this week for the U.N. General Assembly, has acknowledged mentioning Biden in the call. Earlier Tuesday, Trump also confirmed that he delayed the funds to Ukraine, saying he did it because other countries weren’t contributing enough.
The call with Zelensky is the subject of a whistleblower’s complaint, which is being kept from congressional review by the Department of Justice. The contents of that complaint have not yet been publicly disclosed.
Trump and his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, have accused Biden and his son of political corruption over then-vice president Biden’s pressure on Ukraine to fire a prosecutor who reportedly oversaw a probe into the owner of a natural gas company that employed Hunter Biden.
There’s no clear evidence that Biden’s actions as vice president were intended to help his son, and other nations had also called for the Ukrainian prosecutor’s resignation. Hunter Biden has not been accused of wrongdoing related to his work with the company, The New York Times reported.