STATE HOUSE, BOSTON — Worcester Congressman James McGovern on Thursday introduced the rules that will govern the U.S. House's impeachment inquiry, telling representatives that "there is serious evidence that President Trump may have violated our Constitution."

The U.S. House voted 232-196 mostly along party lines to adopt the resolution, putting the complete House on the record regarding impeachment for the first time and marking the start of a new phase of the Democrat-led investigations into President Donald Trump. All nine members of the Massachusetts House delegation voted in favor of the resolution.

The resolution directs certain House committees "to continue their ongoing investigations as part of the existing House of Representatives inquiry into whether sufficient grounds exist for the House of Representatives to exercise its Constitutional power to impeach Donald John Trump, President of the United States of America."

McGovern, chairman of the Rules Committee, said the resolution "establishes the next steps of this inquiry" as it is "now entering the public-facing phase of this process."

"We don't know whether President Trump will be impeached, but the allegations are as serious as it gets -- endangering national security for political gain," McGovern said.

U.S. Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma, the ranking Republican on the Rules Committee, said the resolution "fails to offer the same due process considerations" as in previous impeachment proceedings.

"I think the differences between this procedure and the procedure followed in the past are very clear," he said. "Today's resolution fails to give the president the right to due process that Presidents [Richard] Nixon and [Bill] Clinton enjoyed, and it fails to preserve the right of the minority to fully participate in the proceedings," he said.

Cole added, "This is not a fair process, nor was it ever intended to be. It was pre-ordained from the beginning."

The rules resolution details a process under which the House's Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence must hold an open hearing to question witnesses and eventually issue a report with its findings and dissent to the Judiciary Committee. That committee would then "report to the House of Representatives such resolutions, articles of impeachment, or other recommendations as it deems proper."

The U.S. House has been pursuing impeachment through its committees, a process that accelerated as details of a phone call between Trump and the Ukrainian president were unearthed, including the president's push for an investigation of Joe Biden, a candidate for president in 2020.

"For all his policies, his tweets and his rhetoric that I disagree with, I never wanted our country to reach this point. I take no pleasure in the need for this resolution," McGovern said on the House floor. "We are here because the facts compel us to be here."

In a statement, the White House said, "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. Instead of focusing on pressing issues that impact real families ... the Democrats are choosing every day to waste time on a sham impeachment – a blatantly partisan attempt to destroy the President."

Soon after the vote in Washington, the Massachusetts Republican Party sent a fundraising email critical of McGovern and a Democratic Party that it said "has spiraled out of control with this impeachment charade."

"We know this is exactly what he and the Radical Left have wanted all along – to nullify the election results of 2016. Won't you chip in and donate here so we can remind Rep. McGovern and other establishment insiders that it is We the People who elect the president, and not We the Washington Elite?" the MassGOP wrote. It added, "Apparently a roaring economy, no new wars, and the restoration of American glory is too much for members of the establishment like McGovern to stomach."

— Colin A. Young, State House News Service

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