WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The US House of Representatives on Thursday adopted a resolution on the next steps in its failure to investigate President Donald Trump.

Only a handful of Democrats split from the majority by 232 to 196.

"It paves the way for the next stage of our investigation," said Adam Schiff, one of the investigative leaders, in the pre-vote debate.

In a tweet following the formal launch of the House of Representatives' removal mechanism in a vote that gave a green light to a new and public stage in witness hearings, the US president denounced: “The biggest political chase campaign, the greatest defamation campaign in American history!”

White House press secretary Stephanie Gresham said in a statement that the mechanism of isolation is "illegal" and stressed that "Democrats choose every day to waste time on a false isolation mechanism, in an attempt of a flagrant political nature to eliminate the president."

"The president made no mistake, and the Democrats know that," Gresham said.

She said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the "unwarranted Democrats' interest in conducting an unlawful probe are not detrimental to President Trump; it hurts the American people."