The lower chamber of the United States of America’s legislative body on Thursday voted to move inquiries into the impeachment of President Donald Trump from closed hearings to a public phase.
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The votes went across party lines, with all 194 Republicans and two Democrats voting against the process in a ballot which ended 232 to 196 in favour of the formalization of the impeachment process.
Speaker of the American House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi said the votes will lawmakers decide whether Trump should be impeached based on the truth.
“I don’t know why the Republicans are afraid of the truth,” she said.
The BBC reports that Republican house leader Kevin McCarthy, said the Democrats are trying to get Trump out of office “because they are scared they cannot defeat him at the ballot box in next year’s presidential election”.
Trump reacted to the proceedings at the democrat-controlled chamber, on Twitter, describing it as the greatest “witch hunt in American history”.
The ‘witch-hunt’ resolution approved by Congress will in the first stage, see the house intelligence committee, publicly grille witnesses.
At the conclusion of this phase, the intelligence panel will forward its report to the judicial committee.
Trump’s lawyers will be allowed to make arguments on considerations made by the judicial body in the lower chamber.
If satisfied that Trump is worth impeaching based on the evidence before them, the committee would send articles of impeachment to the Senate.
At this stage, Trump will be on trial at the upper chamber which is dominated by his party members.
It is for this reason that some experts believe the move by the lower house of mainly democrats are making a futile move.
The last time the US legislature embarked on an impeachment proceeding was in 1998 and the subject was Bill Clinton.