Trump denounces historic impeachment vote as inquiry goes public

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House members vote on the House resolution to move forward with procedures for the next phase of the impeachment inquiry into President Trump in the House Chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 31, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

U.S President Donald Trump has denounced the impeachment inquiry into his conduct after it took an historic step.

Lawmakers voted to set the rules for how they will run an inquiry that could put Trump on trial in the Senate.

CGTN’s Owen Fairclough has more.

It was an historic moment on Halloween for the U.S. impeachment inquiry.

And Republican lawmakers were quick to denounce it in appropriate terms.

Congressman Doug Lamalfa told the House of Representatives: “Instead of voting on and taking up the issues that matter to the American people, we continue to chase this witch hunt, trying to take down the accomplishments of our President Donald J. Trump.”

But opposition Democrats dominate the House of Representatives and won a vote that set rules for an inquiry that may lead to impeachment.

Trump’s reaction on Twitter was swift, denouncing “The Greatest Witch Hunt in U.S. history.”

But the chair of one of the committees investigating the President won’t be dissuaded.

“No person, Republican or Democrat, president or anyone else, should be permitted to jeopardize America’s security and reputation for self-serving political purposes,” said House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerry Nadler.

Democrats accuse Trump of abusing his office by pressuring Ukraine’s new president to investigate Joe Biden, who’s hoping to become the Democratic nominee in next year’s presidential election.

U.S. federal law bans candidates from accepting foreign help.

So far, Democrats have been collecting much of their evidence against Trump behind closed doors.

Tim Morrison, who participated in a phone call between Trump and his Ukranian counterpart over the summer was the latest official to testify on Capitol Hill as that vote was taking place.

But this important test of support for the impeachment process means the inquiry can now move into the public sphere, with televised congressional hearings.