PV International Desk : A deeply divided Congress formally opened a new, public phase of its investigation into Donald Trump on Thursday as US lawmakers voted for the first time to advance the impeachment process targeting the US president.

“Today the House takes the next step forward as we establish the procedures for open hearings… so that the public can see the facts for themselves,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Washington’s top Democrat.

“What is at stake in all of this is nothing less than our democracy.”

The House of Representatives voted along party lines, 232 to 196, to pass a resolution that lays out guidelines for the next stages of the impeachment process.

All Republicans opposed the measure, despite agitating for weeks for such a vote that could end the secretive depositions and bring the process into the

Democrats are seeking to learn whether Trump abused his presidential power by pressuring a foreign government to investigate a domestic political rival.