WASHINGTON - House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is asking House Democrats to proceed with drafting articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.

The announcement comes after weeks of public and private hearings into the impeachment inquiry by select committees in the House.

On Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing with four constitutional scholars who testified whether the president's conduct met the threshold of high crimes and misdemeanors required for impeachment.

The center of the inquiry has concerned Trump's efforts to have Ukraine investigate his political rival, former vice president Joe Biden, and his son Hunter.

Pelosi discussed the historical reasons for impeachment, and says democracy is at stake.

"If we allow a president to be above the law, we do so surely at the peril of our Republic. In America, no one is above the law," Pelosi said.

Democrats are expected to move quickly, with a full House vote possible before Christmas.

If they vote to impeach, the Senate would hold a trial early next year.