House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Friday that she expects public hearings in the House impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump to begin as early as this month, according to a new report.
The White House, meanwhile, says it is "prepared for an impeachment to happen."
Pelosi said during a roundtable with Bloomberg reporters and editors that she "would assume there would be public hearing in November," but noted that the Democrats' case for impeaching Trump "has to be ironclad."
Pelosi told Bloomberg that there is no deadline to finish the investigation, which centers around Trump's push for Ukraine to launch probes involving his political rivals such as former Vice President Joe Biden.
The Democrat-led House voted nearly along party lines Thursday to codify the ground rules for the next phase of the impeachment inquiry, which will include public hearings and purports to carve out space for Trump to participate in the process.
Pelosi told Bloomberg that "we have not made any decisions on if the president will be impeached." But many Republican lawmakers and administration officials have slammed the impeachment proceedings, accusing Democrats of attempting to remove a president they have always disliked without due process.
White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a Fox News interview Friday morning that "Nancy Pelosi has made it very, very clear that the House Democrats are going to vote" to impeach Trump.
"We are prepared for an impeachment to happen, yes," Grisham said.
She went on to say that the president has "done nothing wrong," insisting that there is "no quid pro quo" to be found in the memorandum of Trump's July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that catalyzed many Democrats to support the impeachment probe.
Some witnesses, however, testified before the House Intelligence, Oversight and Foreign Affairs committees in closed-door hearings that they were concerned about that phone call. A top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine testified that he was told that Trump had delayed a military aid package to Ukraine pending an agreement by that country to launch certain corruption investigations.
Trump, in that call, asks Zelensky to "look into" unsubstantiated allegations against Biden and his son Hunter. After Zelensky mentions that Ukraine plans to buy U.S. Javelin missiles, Trump asks him to "do us a favor though" and investigate whether Ukraine played a role in foreign efforts to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
The military aid was eventually given to Ukraine in September.
Grisham also confirmed that Trump was considering a "fireside chat" — a reference to President Franklin D. Roosevelt's radio addresses delivered to the nation throughout his presidency — in which he would read the memorandum of his call with Zelensky. Trump suggested in an interview with the Washington Examiner that he would read the memorandum aloud on live television.
"Sure, it's always a serious consideration," Grisham said on Fox, but "I don't know what the logistics of it would look like just yet."