The impeachment of Donald Trump has moved a step closer after a committee voted to press formal charges against the US president.

The House of Representatives judiciary committee approved two articles of impeachment on Friday.

Mr Trump is accused of abusing his power by trying to force Ukraine to investigate political rival Joe Biden and of obstructing Congress when politicians tried to investigate.

A full vote will now be held in the House of Representatives next week.

If that vote passes in the Democrat-majority House then impeachment proceedings will continue to a full trial in the Senate.

However, the Republican-led chamber is unlikely to vote to remove Mr Trump from the White House.

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Mr Trump will be only the third US president in history to face impeachment proceedings. He claims the proceedings will assist his election campaign.

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The debates among the committee members have been very partisan.

Democrat Representative David Cicilline argued there was “overwhelming evidence” that the president, in pushing Ukraine to investigate rival Mr Biden, was engaged in an abuse of power “to corrupt American elections”.

The committee will vote on whether to approved two articles of impeachment
Image: The committee voted to approve two articles of impeachment

But on Thursday, Republicans on the judiciary panel complained about the procedures followed by Democrats in the impeachment inquiry and requested another hearing.

They said their rights had been ignored in the inquiry but they were voted down by the panel’s Democratic majority.

Republican US Representative Debbie Lesko said: “Rules have just been thrown out the window in this process.

“It continues to amaze me how corrupt, how unfair this process has been from the start.”

This photo of a computer screen shows a copy of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Report of The Trump-Ukraine Impeachment Inquiry Report on December 3, 2019 in Washington,DC. - The evidence for impeaching President Donald Trump for misconduct in office and obstruction is "overwhelming," the final report on the House investigation into the US leader said December 3, 2019. "The evidence of the President's misconduct is overwhelming, and so too is the evidence of his obstruction of Congress," said the report, meant to support formal charges against Trump. (Photo by Eric BARADAT / AFP) (Photo by ERIC BARADAT/AFP via Getty Images)
Image: The committee published its report only a few weeks ago

Democrats said the Republicans were not addressing the substance of the charges against Mr Trump, which were set out in an impeachment report at the beginning of this month.

Democratic Representative Joe Neguse said: “Let us dispense with these process arguments and get to the substance of why we are here today.”

Former vice president Mr Biden is a leading contender for the Democratic nomination to run against Mr Trump next year.

The president has vociferously denied any wrongdoing and condemned the impeachment inquiry as a hoax. In a tweet on Thursday he said: “No crime!”