U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) discusses the status of the impeachment inquiry into U.S. President Donald Trump on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., December 5, 2019. (Reuters/Erin Scott)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday said she has directed a House committee to draft articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump over his effort to pressure Ukraine to investigate a political rival, a historic step that sets up a fight over whether to oust him from office.

"The president abused his power for his own personal political benefit at the expense of our national security by withholding military aid and (a) crucial Oval Office meeting in exchange for an announcement of an investigation into his political rival," Pelosi said in a televised statement.

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