Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives began a formal impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump over allegations that he pressured a foreign power to damage his political rival Joe Biden.
Democrats accuse President Trump of improperly pressuring the Ukrainian president to undermine Mr Biden.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi declared the inquiry after a closed-door gathering with Democratic lawmakers, stating Trump’s actions threatened national security and infringed the U.S. Constitution.
“The president must be held accountable. No one is above the law,” said Pelosi, who for months had been reluctant to embrace an impeachment effort.
Stephanie Grisham, the White House press secretary, followed up with a statement that Democrats’ “attacks on the President and his agenda are not only partisan and pathetic, they are in dereliction of their Constitutional duty”.