For only the fourth time in U.S. history, the House of Representatives has started a presidential impeachment inquiry. House committees are trying to determine if President Donald Trump violated his oath of office by asking a foreign country to investigate a political opponent.
The House will take a vote this week to formalize Democrats' impeachment inquiry amid President Donald Trump's criticism that the probe is "illegitimate."
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says the step is being taken "to eliminate any doubt" about the process.
In a letter to her colleagues on Monday, Pelosi said the resolution will "affirm the ongoing, existing investigation" and layout procedures for open hearings and the next steps going forward. It involves holding public hearings, releasing transcripts from closed-door interviews and transferring evidence to the Judiciary Committee, which will be tasked with drawing up potential articles of impeachment.
She dismissed the White House's argument that impeachment isn't happening without a formal vote, saying that "of course, this argument has no merit."
The Constitution doesn't require a vote to begin impeachment. But Trump and his Republican colleagues have cited the lack of one to say that the probe is not real. Trump used that argument in a lengthy letter to the House earlier this month saying that he wouldn't cooperate.
Many government officials have cooperated with the inquiry despite Trump's orders. But Pelosi's letter comes as a national security official defied a House subpoena Monday, escalating the standoff between Congress and the White House over who will testify.