Democrats are expected to produce two separate articles of impeachment against Donald Trump, it has been reported – moving him closer to a historic show of disapproval from congress and putting his position as president of the US at risk.
Following on from a lengthy series of both public and private hearings into the president’s dealings with Ukraine, the articles are expected to focus on Mr Trump’s alleged abuses of power and obstruction of Congress, according to US media.
It comes after a meeting of House speaker Nancy Pelosi and Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler – along with other senior Democrats – to decide the shape of upcoming votes indicting the president.
Speaking shortly after the meeting, Ms Pelosi remained tight lipped on how her party colleagues would proceed.
“You think I’m going to tell you the articles of impeachment?” she said at a Wall Street Journal event on Monday night.
“We’re in a place where our members, our leadership of our committees of jurisdiction have now gotten the last input. They’ll make a determination, a recommendation as to how we will go forward and what the articles will be.”
However the rhetoric against Mr Trump during proceedings has increasingly pointed towards the basis for impeachment being his efforts to pressure the Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate his political rival Joe Biden – as well as efforts to hide this action from congress.
Mr Nadler told the inquiry: "Multiple witnesses – including respected diplomats, national security professionals, and decorated war veterans – all testified to the same basic fact: President Trump withheld the aid and the meeting in order to pressure a foreign government to do him that favour.
"President Trump put himself before country.
"And when the president got caught – when Congress discovered that the aid had been withheld from Ukraine – the president took extraordinary and unprecedented steps to conceal evidence from Congress and from the American people".
In his submission to the hearing, Intelligence Committee lawyer Daniel S. Goldman added: “President Trump’s persistent and continuing effort to coerce a foreign country to help him cheat to win an election is a clear and present danger to our free and fair elections and to our national security”
The articles move Mr Trump a step closer to becoming the third president in the nation’s 243 year history to be impeached – and are expected to be the subject of a vote of the House Judiciary committee on Thursday before being passed on to the full house the following week.
Both votes are expected to pass – with the Democrat-controlled house requiring a simple majority of more than 50 per cent to approve the articles.
However while this will mean Mr Trump will have been formally impeached, the senate looks unlikely to follow suit and support a conviction that would see him removed from office.
Any vote that would officially remove the president from power requires the support of a super majority of senators – or 67 out of the upper house’s 100 votes.
Republicans currently control the house with a 53-47 majority, meaning at least 20 would have to defect and oppose Mr Trump to oust him. So far no Republican senator has come out in favour of impeachment.
This high bar for removal from office means that impeachment followed by removal has never been achieved in US history – the closest case being Richard Nixon who resigned before he could be ousted by the senate over the Watergate scandal.