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Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-California, talks to reporters just before the House vote on a resolution to formalize the impeachment investigation of President Donald Trump. / Associated Press photo by J. Scott Applewhite

We said recently House Democrats wouldn't be able to help themselves, and they proved it Thursday by approving an impeachment process for President Donald Trump.

Still stung by the 2016 presidential upset, they voted along party lines — with two of theirs defecting — to continue the investigation they had unprecedentedly begun in relative secret. No Republican voted for the process in the 232-196 tally.

We said previously in the end it won't matter what the evidence shows, the House at some future date will vote to impeach Trump. And unless there is some devastating information that implicates him in a serious violation of the Constitution, the Senate — needing a super-majority vote of two-thirds of its members to convict — will acquit him of the article or articles for which he will be impeached.

The rest is all just noise. Unfortunately, it does take away from the serious business Congress should be doing.

The vague charge, by now, most people know — that Trump in a July telephone call might have promised aid for the Ukraine if it began an investigation into a company in which 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden's son was a highly paid board member.

The president has released an edited transcript of the call. In it, there is no such promise of a quid pro quo (something for something). Some people who already have testified in secret have said such a promise was implicit; others who have testified said no such promise was implicit.

As we said, it won't matter what the House Intelligence Committee hears in public impeachment hearings. In a purely political exercise, the full House, in which Democrats have a majority, will vote to impeach.

Democrats have been waiting for such a moment since Trump was declared the winner in 2016, winning an Electoral College majority but not a majority of the popular vote.

They thought they had him strung up in a two-year probe led by special counsel Robert Mueller and a team of unelected Democrats and supporters of 2016 presidential loser Hillary Clinton. Allegations daily implied evidence of his ties to Russian interference in the election.

At the end of the investigation, the special counsel found Trump did not collude with Russia, and neither did Mueller make any charges of obstruction of justice.

After that, and with the House returning to Democratic rule in 2018, it was just a matter of time before they tried to find another way to get rid of him.

As to what occurred Thursday with the vote, the House majority party was forced to do what it didn't want to do — allow everything to be public, as Republicans had been saying Americans deserved. Up to now, what had come out of the secret hearings was the result of Democratic leaks or were the whispers of someone saying "he said that she said " It has not been the type of process that leads voters to believe fairness is involved in any way.

Such a vote, too, puts each Democrat on record. Those votes, in districts where Trump is popular, may come back to haunt them.

Even with the vote, the House majority party couldn't offer the same concessions extant in some past hearings — that proceedings would be in the Judiciary Committee and not the Intelligence Committee, that the majority party could call witnesses or subpoena documents instead of having to request such from the majority party, and that White House counsel could be present in the hearings.

So the stage is set, and haters of Trump will be able to get their fill of hearings and testimony and partisanship when the process goes public. Similar to arguing politics on social media, though, their chances of changing the minds of Trump supporters and independents who have seen through what up to now seems to be a purely political activity are slim.

Antjuan Seawright, a Democratic strategist and former top adviser to Clinton's South Carolina campaign in 2016, said as much this week on the Fox News show "Liberty Files."

Asked by the host whether "Joe Six-Pack" in traditional Democratic Rust Belt states that went for Trump in 2016 cares about impeachment, he said, "Absolutely not.

"Joe Six-Pack and my mother care about quality of life issues ," he said. "They care about the things that make people go to bed at night sweating. And it makes the father sit on the edge of the bed at night because he can't fix the problems for his family."

It's a shame Democrats can't sense what's on the minds of American. But they just can't help themselves.

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