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Trump's conduct is not ‘America first’, Democrats argue at impeachment trial

Trump's conduct is not ‘America first’, Democrats argue at impeachment trial
House impeachment manager Jerry Nadler listens as Adam Schiff responds to a question from the news media during a press conference in the US Capitol on 22 January. Photograph: Shawn Thew/EPA

Donald Trump put his personal political interests ahead of his country’s national security and free and fair elections, prosecutors at his impeachment trial on Capitol Hill said on Thursday, telling US senators: “This conduct is not ‘America first’. It is Donald Trump first.”

Democratic impeachment managers, who are acting as the prosecutors bringing the case for Trump’s removal from office, were spending a second day in Washington laying out their case against Trump in only the third presidential impeachment trial in American history.

Jerrold Nadler, chairman of the House of Representatives’ judiciary committee, argued that Trump should be convicted of two articles of impeachment passed by the House last month – abuse of power and obstruction of Congress – for pressuring Ukraine to investigate his 2020 Democratic rival Joe Biden last year, and obstructing an investigation into the affair.

“This presidential stonewalling of Congress is unprecedented in the 238-year history of our constitutional republic,” Nadler told the Senate. “It puts even President [Richard] Nixon to shame.”

Democrats have been hammering for days against an extreme Republican skepticism about the case against Trump, turning the Senate well into a

“The generation that rebelled against George III knew what abuse of power was. It was no abstraction for them.

Trump versus Trump bossert wray hill turley barr dersh graham

Take apart two key ideas: an impeachable “abuse of power” must be based on a statutory criminal offense, and Ukraine has a server proving it hacked the DNC

Once again, if this sounds far fetched and crazy, it should, because it is.

Senators were then shown a video clip from last month’s House impeachment hearings in which expert witness Michael Gerhardt, a law professor at the University of North Carolina, testified: “I just want to stress that if what we’re talking about is not impeachable, then nothing is impeachable. This is precisely the misconduct that the framers created the Constitution, including impeachment, to protect against.”

Democratic House impeachment managers have a total of 24 hours over three days, which makes it likely that their case will continue into Friday.

But so far, all the signs are that Republicans are unmoved. Even as lead manager Adam Schiff presented a meticulous and lengthy narrative on Wednesday, praised by Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer as a “tour de force”, the Republicans’ body language in the Senate chamber and public statements outside it expressedweariness and skepticism.

Josh Hawley, a Republican senator from Missouri, said: “I think it’s now clear we absolutely must call Hunter Biden and we probably need to call Joe Biden. Based on the House managers’ presentation today, I think we probably are going to need to hear from the former vice president if indeed we call witnesses.”

Sekulow:

Trump is not expected to appear at his own congressional trial.

We’re going to use a sufficient amount of time to not only defend our case and point out the inconst

We’re not going to try to run the clock out

Such views have angered Democrats. Schumer said the Senate needed to stay focused on the case at hand.

“We need the relevant witnesses and documents,” Schumer told reporters during a break in the trial. “We are standing by the four witnesses we need and the four sets of documents we need. There are no discussions with Republicans, we are not trading, we are not whittling down the list. Those four are all very important.”

He accused Republicans of “inventing shiny objects and so-called outrages” to deflect media and public attention from the fairness of the trial.

Trump has directed current and former administration officials, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and former national security adviser John Bolton, not to testify or provide documents. But a Reuters/ Ipsos poll this week found that 72% of Americans – including 84% of Democrats and 69% of Republicans – want to see new witnesses testify in the trial.

Schiff and other Democrats have told how Trump and his aides pressed Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate Biden, a leading 2020 Democratic presidential contender, and Biden’s son on baseless corruption charges as well as a discredited theory that Ukraine, not Russia, meddled in the 2016 presidential election. Nearly $400m in US military aid to Ukraine was temporarily frozen.

Trump denies wrongdoing and his Republican allies, who control the US Senate, have said his conduct did not fit the description of “high crimes and misdemeanors” outlined in the constitution as grounds to remove a president from office.

The president, who has just returned to Washington from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, condemned the proceedings as “unfair & corrupt” in a Twitter post on Thursday.

He seems almost certain to be acquitted by the 100-member Senate, where there are 53 Republicans and where a two-thirds majority of those present is needed to convict. and remove him from office. But the political impact of the trial remains uncertain.

Hawley said he wouldn’t recognize an abuse of power.

Asked whether there can be an Abuse of power without a crime?

I don’t know what that would look liike

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