Amid House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's announcement that House Democrats are moving forward with impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump on Tuesday, his re-election campaign and several of his 2020 Democratic presidential challengers, including former Vice President Joe Biden, Sens. Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren, began urging supporters to donate to their campaigns -- turning the unfolding political drama into a fundraising opportunity.
"I’VE DONE NOTHING WRONG. TRUST ME, YOU’LL SEE THE TRANSCRIPT" President Donald Trump wrote in an email to supporters shortly after Pelosi's public announced on an impeachment inquiry Tuesday.
The email, with a subject line, "Call Transcript," accuses House Democrats of yet again pursuing a "witch hunt," and asks for supporters to chip in $5 in defense of the president. The $5 donation, according to the email, will get you into the newly launched "Official Impeachment Defense Task Force," though it doesn't explain what exactly the task force does.
President Trump's campaign sent out multiple emails about impeachment throughout Tuesday afternoon, before the House Democratic leadership meeting, before the House Democratic caucus meeting, and shortly after Speaker Pelosi's announcement, again and again urging supporters to chip in $5 to defend the president.
But the president isn't the only 2020 candidate seeking to use the moment as a campaign opportunity.
Some of the 2020 Democratic White House hopefuls have also been also fundraising off of impeachment calls all day, and their fundraising strategy has largely been very similar -- sending out emails to supporters or running ads on social media platforms asking people to add their names to a petition related to impeachment, which eventually leads to a campaign website asking for donation or donor contact information, which is a common donor list building strategy.
Just before Pelosi's announcement, the Biden campaign sent out an email to supporters, urging them to sign a "petition" if they agree that Congress has "no choice but to initiate impeachment" if Trump doesn't comply. Though the email doesn't explicitly ask for donation, the petition asks for supporters' contact information and leads to a survey page that asks for donations.
"If we're being honest, we've fallen a little behind where we planned to be," the campaign website explains before asking for a small donation to help them "get back on track."
Biden's campaign, since last week, has also been running similar Facebook ads on Trump's alleged attempt to pressure the Ukrainian government to investigate the former vice president, though the ads don't explicitly mention impeachment.
Biden, who's finding his family embroiled in the controversy, responded Tuesday before reporters in Delaware that he can "take the political attacks" but cautioned that "if we allow a president to get away with shredding the U.S constitution, that will last forever."
Harris, of California, and Montana Gov. Steve Bullock sent out similar supporter emails, featuring petition links that goes to a donation page.
"The need to impeach this president is as clear and urgent as ever before." Harris said in an email as she urged supporters to sign a petition.
Warren's campaign has been running impeachment ads on Facebook and Twitter as early as last week when the whistleblower report came to light, and Harris' campaign joined in a similar social media ad blitz on Tuesday.
Some of the ads from both the Warren and Harris campaigns feature similar petition pages and donation pages that popped up on Tuesday, also ran back in July when special counsel Robert Mueller testified before Congress about his investigation into Russian election meddling during the 2016 election.
As of Tuesday, 11 Democratic presidential candidates have called for impeachment or to begin impeachment proceedings even before Pelosi's announcement on Tuesday, including Harris, Warren of Massachusetts, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan, former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro, billionaire Tom Steyer, motivational speaker Marianne Williamson and Miramar, Florida Mayor Wayne Messam.
Warren was the first to call for impeachment.
In the last 24 hours, Andrew Yang, an entrepreneur, changed his mind in favor of supporting impeachment and three others - Biden, South Bend Mayor Buttigieg, and Bullock - have moved closer than they have before towards supporting an impeachment inquiry, but still stopped short of making an explicit call for impeaching President Trump.