Key c’ttee passes Trump impeachment chargesKey c’ttee passes Trump impeachment charges

The US House Judiciary Committee has approved two impeachment charges against President Donald Trump, moving the process towards a full House vote.

The committee vote split along party lines. The articles are expected to be voted on by the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives next week.

Democratic Party leaders have implored lawmakers to “search their conscience” before placing their historic vote.

Mr Trump is the fourth US president in history to face impeachment.

Friday’s hearing lasted just over ten minutes before the two articles of impeachment – abuse of power and obstructing Congress – were passed by 23 votes to 17.

The vote had been expected on Thursday, but was delayed after more than 14 hours of rancorous debate. Republicans criticised that decision by Democratic Party Chairman Jerry Nadler, accusing him of pushing back the vote to ensure more TV coverage.

In the abuse of power article, Mr Trump is accused of soliciting a foreign country to help him politically by trying to force Ukraine to launch a corruption investigation into his political rival Joe Biden, a leading Democratic presidential contender.

He is also accused of obstructing Congress by failing to co-operate with the House investigation.

Leading Democrats agreed the articles of impeachment described over nine pages.

They say that Mr Trump “betrayed the nation” by acting “corruptly”.

Mr Nadler made a brief statement to reporters after the vote, calling it a “solemn and sad day” and pledged that the House of Representatives would “act expeditiously”.

But Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz said: “For Democrats, impeachment is their drug.”

White House spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham was glad that the “desperate charade of an impeachment inquiry in the House Judiciary Committee has reached its shameful end”.

“The president looks forward to receiving in the Senate the fair treatment and due process which continues to be disgracefully denied to him by the House,” she continued.

The march toward impeachment in the House of Representatives has hit the mark reached by Richard Nixon in 1974. Hearings have been conducted, speeches given and articles of impeachment approved by the Judiciary Committee.

All that stands between Trump and a Senate trial are two votes by the full House of Representatives – one vote on each article of impeachment. -BBC

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