İrem UZUN -TDO- The U.S. House of Representatives took a major step in the impeachment effort against U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday when lawmakers approved rules for the next stage of the Democratic-led inquiry into the president’s attempt to have Ukraine investigate a domestic political rival. The resolution would authorize rules for House committees to move forward with formal, public hearings on whether to impeach Trump and marks a historic political moment in the United States. "We are now at the next stage here. It is now time to present the evidence to the American people," said Representative Jim McGovern, the Democrat chairman of the House Rules Committee. "This paves the way".

The Democratic-controlled House voted by 232 to 196 to establish how to hold public hearings in Congress, which could be damaging for Trump ahead of the 2020 presidential election. House Democrats say Trump has abused his office for personal gain and jeopardized national security by asking Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelenskiy to investigate Trump’s Democratic political rival Joe Biden, a former U.S. vice president, and his son Hunter, who had served as a director for Ukrainian energy company called“Burisma”.

Trump has denied wrongdoing and called the inquiry a sham. Trump’s press secretary has issued a statement slamming Democrats’ “unhinged obsession with this illegitimate impeachment proceeding” in the wake of the resolution’s passage. “The President has done nothing wrong, and the Democrats know it. Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats’ unhinged obsession with this illegitimate impeachment proceeding does not hurt President Trump; it hurts the American people,” Stephanie Grisham said in her statement.

If the House of Representatives eventually votes to impeach Trump, that would set up a trial in the Senate. Trump would not be removed from office unless votes to convict him by a two-thirds margin.

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