News ID: 264834
Published: 0251 GMT January 25, 2020

Dems say oust Trump or he’ll betray again

Dems say oust Trump or he’ll betray again
ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP
Rep. Adam Schiff (C) and Jerry Nadler (R) speak to reporters on the third day of the Senate impeachment trial on January 24.

Closing out their case, House Democrats warned in Donald Trump’s impeachment trial that the president will persist in abusing his power and endangering American democracy unless Congress intervenes to remove him before the 2020 election.

They then implored Republican senators to allow new testimony before rendering a final verdict, AP reported.

“Give America a fair trial,” Rep. Adam Schiff, the lead Democratic impeachment manager, said Friday. “She’s worth it.”

Schiff delivered Democrats’ final remarks in the Senate trial after three days of methodical and impassioned arguments detailing charges that Trump abused power by asking Ukraine for politically motivated probes of political rivals, then obstructed Congress’ investigation into the matter.

The opening arguments appear to have done nothing to shake Republicans’ support for Trump or persuade enough centrist GOP lawmakers to call for new witnesses, including Trump’s former national security adviser John Bolton. In his final appeal to lawmakers and a divided nation, Schiff argued that a guilty verdict in the Senate is the only remedy left to curb what he called the “’imminent threat” posed to the nation by Trump’s unconstitutional impulses.

“He is who he is,” Schiff declared. “You know it’s not going to stop. ... It’s not going to stop unless the Congress does something about it.”

The moment of history was apparent, only the third impeachment trial of a US president, as were the partisan views of the Trump presidency and the effort to end it.

When Schiff cited a news story with someone close to Trump saying any Republican voting with Democrats would have their “head on a pike,” GOP senators in the chamber began murmuring, “That’s not true.”

The House impeached Trump last month, accusing him of abusing his office by asking Ukraine for politically motivated probes of Biden and other matters while withholding military aid from a US ally that was at war with bordering Russia. A second article of impeachment accuses him of obstructing Congress by refusing to turn over documents or allow officials to testify in the House ensuing probe.

Said Trump attorney Jay Sekulow, “We’re going to rebut and refute, and we’re going to put on an affirmative case tomorrow.”

Republicans are defending Trump’s actions as appropriate and are casting the impeachment trial as a politically motivated effort to weaken him in his reelection campaign. Republicans hold a 53-47 majority in the Senate, and eventual acquittal is considered likely.

Before that, senators will make a critical decision next week on Democratic demands to hear testimony from top Trump aides, including Bolton and acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, who refused to appear before the House. It would take four Republican senators to join the Democratic minority to seek witnesses, and so far the numbers appear lacking.

With Chief Justice John Roberts presiding, Friday’s session opened with an overarching case from Democrats that Trump’s actions with Ukraine were not unique but part of a pattern of “destructive behavior” now threatening the core foundations of American democracy.

Schiff told the senators that Trump has shown repeatedly that he is willing to put his personal political interests above those of the country he is sworn to protect.

When the House started investigating his actions, Democrats said, Trump blatantly obstructed the probe. Even then-president Richard Nixon, they argued, better understood the need to comply with Congress in some of its oversight requests.

The impeachment trial is set against the backdrop of the 2020 election, as voters assess Trump’s presidency and his run for a second term. Four senators who are Democratic presidential candidates are off the campaign trail, seated as jurors.

The House mounted its Trump case after a government whistleblower complained about his July 2019 call with Ukraine. The House relied on testimony from current and former national security officials and diplomats, many who defied White House instructions not to appear.

Evidence presented in the House probe has shown that Trump, with lawyer Rudy Giuliani, pursued investigations of Biden and his son, Hunter, who served on a Ukrainian gas company’s board, and sought a probe of a debunked theory that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 US election.

It’s a story line many in the president’s camp are still pushing. Giuliani, in an appearance Friday on “Fox & Friends,” insisted he would present evidence on his new podcast.

At close, Schiff predicted the Trump team will try to distract senators from the case, in part by lodging personal attacks against all the House prosecutors. He reminded senators what is at stake and read the articles of impeachment one more time.

 

 

   
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