A deeply divided U.S. House of Representatives took a major step in the effort to impeach President Donald Trump on Thursday when lawmakers approved rules for the next stage, including public hearings, in the Democratic-led inquiry into Trump’s attempt to have Ukraine investigate a domestic political rival.
In the first formal test of support for the impeachment investigation, the Democratic-controlled House voted almost entirely along party lines – 232 to 196 – to move the probe forward in Congress, which could damage Trump ahead of the 2020 presidential election.
The vote demonstrated unity among Democrats who accuse Trump of abusing his office and jeopardizing national security. But they did not pick up a single Republican vote.
“It’s a sad day. No one comes to Congress to impeach a president,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said before the vote.
Republicans accused Democrats of using impeachment to overturn the results of the 2016 election, and the White House said Democrats had an “unhinged obsession” with impeachment.
“The Greatest Witch Hunt In American History!” Trump wrote on Twitter on Thursday.