The House of Representatives has voted to formalise the Democrat-led impeachment inquiry against Donald Trump by 232-196, firmly along party lines, establishing key ground rules for the ongoing investigation and setting up a potentially explosive public hearing phase.
Before the ballots were cast, House speaker Nancy Pelosi and Adam Schiff reminded members of the “solemnity” of the day before angry Republicans Devin Nunes and Steve Scalise accused the opposition of “acting like a cult” and carrying out a “Soviet-style” operation. Mr Trump himself then raged at the result on Twitter, branding the inquiry: “The Greatest Witch Hunt In American History!”
Tim Morrison, the National Security Council’s top Russia adviser reportedly said the administration’s dealings with Ukraine gave him “a sinking feeling”, during testimony on Capitol Hill after lawyers for the president’s former national security adviser, John Bolton, said he will appear before the House panel next week should a subpoena be issued.
During his testimony, Mr Morrison confirmed that Mr Trump had sought a quid pro quo related to US security funding and an investigation into Joe Biden, but said he did not believe Mr Trump had broken the law.
The impeachment vote means that the House is moving into a new phase, with public hearings likely on the horizon as Democrats continue to pursue the president over potential wrongdoing.
And, shortly after the vote, Democratic congresswoman Katie Hill delivered a scathing resignation speech, in which she declared that she was the victim of a "double standard" because she had been accused of an inappropriate but consensual sexual relationship, and forced from Congress.
Mr Trump, she said, is meanwhile still the president after repeated accusations of sexual assault (he has denied doing so).
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