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  • U.S. President Donald Trump waves to reporters prior to departing Washington for travel to Chicago at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, U.S., October 28, 2019.

    U.S. President Donald Trump waves to reporters prior to departing Washington for travel to Chicago at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, U.S., October 28, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 28 October 2019

If the measure is approved on Thrusday it will set the stage for House investigating committees to forward evidence they have collected to the House Judiciary Committee.

Democrats in the United States House of Representatives set a Thursday vote to lay out the next steps for their impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump, even as officials and Republican lawmakers refuse to cooperate.

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If the measure is approved on Thrusday it will set the stage for House investigating committees to forward evidence they have collected to the House Judiciary Committee, which then would decide whether to advance articles of impeachment against Trump.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced in a letter that the House will vote this week on a resolution that “affirms the ongoing, existing investigation” and spells out how future public hearings will be held. 

The House Speaker promised to provide legal protections for Trump, as the president and fellow Republicans have spent weeks branding the probe illegitimate.

For weeks, the Democrat-led House has gathered testimonies from key members from the intelligence community, including the U.S. Top Envoy to Ukraine. Yet several administration officials, including a former deputy national security adviser on Monday, have failed to testify to House committees.

At least nine others have testified despite being instructed by the White House not to do so, Representative Adam Schiff, chairman of the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee, told reporters.

This comes as a whistleblower from within the U.S. intelligence community lodged a complaint with an internal watchdog about Trump’s conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

The July 25 call, which was later released by the White House, confirmed that the U.S. president asked Zelenskiy to investigate his political rival in coordination with the U.S. attorney general and Trump’s personal lawyer,  which in turn occurred after Trump had ordered a freeze of nearly US$400 million in U.S. aid to Ukraine, which the administration only later released.

Trump has denied he did this to get leverage or blackmail Zelenskiy. Federal election law prohibits candidates from accepting foreign help in an election.

Following the scandal, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that the House of Representatives is moving forward with an official impeachment inquiry of Trump, adding the “the actions revealed the dishonorable fact of the President's betrayal of his oath of office, betrayal of our national security and betrayal of the integrity of our elections." 

Under the U.S. Constitution, the House has the power to impeach a president for “high crimes and misdemeanors” and the Senate then holds a trial on whether to remove the president from office. No president has ever been removed from office through impeachment. Democrats currently control the House and Republicans control the Senate.

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