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US House of Representatives approves rules for Trump impeachment probe after vote

Pelosi said: “This is not any cause for any glee or comfort.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi during today's vote.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi during today's vote.
Image: PA Images

Updated Oct 31st 2019, 3:04 PM

THE US HOUSE of Representatives has approved the rules for its impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump with lawmakers voting 232-196 in favour of it.

The vote went squarely along party lines, with all Republicans against the and all but two Democrats voting for it. 

The vote laid down the rules as lawmakers transition from weeks of closed-door interviews with witnesses to public hearings and ultimately to possible votes on whether to recommend Trump’s removal from office.

The process is likely to take months, possibly stretching into the early weeks of the 2020 election year.

The two Democrats who voted against their party were Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey and 15-term veteran Rep. Collin Peterson of Minnesota, one of his party’s most conservative members. Both represent Republican-leaning districts.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi presided over the chamber as it voted on the rules package.

The vote was a victory for the Democrats, who will control the investigation in the House. It gives them the ability to curb the ability of Republicans to subpoena witnesses and of White House lawyers to present witnesses.

Republicans said the process was skewed against them and the White House.

The vote showed how neither side has budged in their fight over whether Trump’s effort to squeeze Ukraine for dirt on his Democratic political foes merits forcing him from office.

PastedImage-86151 The results of today's vote.

Earlier today, Pelosi said  a vote to approve ground rules for their impeachment inquiry of Donald Trump is a “solemn but necessary duty for lawmakers”.

In a floor speech before today’s vote, Pelosi said: “This is not any cause for any glee or comfort.”

Standing next to a large US flag in the well of the House, Pelosi said the impeachment inquiry was necessary to defend the Constitution and prevent an abuse of power by Trump.

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“The times have found each and every one of us in this room,” Pelosi said. She urged lawmakers to vote in favour of the impeachment rules “to protect the Constitution of the United States. What is at stake in all of this is nothing less than our democracy”.

The investigation is focused on Trump’s efforts to push Ukraine to investigate his Democratic political opponents by withholding military aid and an Oval Office meeting craved by the country’s new president.

With reporting by AP

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