TIME

‘I would like you to do us a favor ...’

TRUMP BUTTONHOLES UKRAINE AND TRIGGERS AN IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY
Trump arrives at a news conference in New York City on Sept. 25, hours after the release of a summary of his call with Ukraine’s President

Abigail Spanberger didn’t go to Washington to impeach the President. Over the course of her first nine months in Congress, she said so over and over. She was there to serve her constituents near Richmond, Va., who wanted safe streets and health care and good-paying jobs. As her colleagues ranted about Russia and racism, she kept saying she was focused elsewhere—until Donald Trump did something she felt she couldn’t ignore.

Spanberger, a former CIA officer, was elected as a Democrat last November to represent a House district that went for Trump by a 7-point margin in 2016. Supporting impeachment could hurt her image as a moderate more focused on getting things done than on partisan crusades, and put her re-election at risk. But on Sept. 23, she joined other centrist colleagues and, for the first time, endorsed impeachment proceedings after a whistle-blower reportedly complained that the President had pressured a foreign leader to investigate one of Trump’s top rivals in the 2020 election. “It wasn’t that my mind was changed, it’s that we were presented with new information,” Spanberger told TIME as she cut across the Capitol lawn the next day.

That information helped change House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s carefully calibrated position on impeachment. Though she leads a Democratic majority elected in part as a check on the President, Pelosi spent months tamping down impeachment talk expressly to protect members like Spanberger. But as details emerged about Trump’s conversations with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, long-wavering Democrats made the decision for her. At least 60 new Democrats in the House have announced their support for an impeachment inquiry since Sept. 23, bringing the number to over 200, or roughly 90% of the caucus. The question was no longer whether the impeachment process would begin, but how.

And so, on Sept. 24, Pelosi finally made her move. Trump’s actions were a “betrayal of his oath of office, betrayal of our national security and betrayal of the integrity of

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