Published: Fri, January 24, 2020
Life&Culture | By Sue Mclaughlin

Trump impeachment trial heats up as it turns to the charges

Trump impeachment trial heats up as it turns to the charges

Democratic impeachment manager Jerry Nadler surprised the Senate on Thursday by citing Sen.

"I got to watch enough".

It's unclear how much time they will actually take, but Trump's team is not expected to finish Saturday, according to a person unauthorised to discuss the planning and granted anonymity.

Lindsey Graham was a fierce advocate for impeachment for Bill Clinton, and a staunch opponent against impeaching Donald Trump.

At one point, they showed video of a younger Lindsey Graham, then a SC congressman and now a GOP senator allied with Trump, arguing during Bill Clinton's 1999 impeachment that no crime was needed for impeaching a president.

The underlying case involves Don McGahn, the former White House counsel who was, for all intents and purposes, one of the star witnesses in Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into the Russian Federation scandal. But Trump's team has argued that these articles of impeachment are "structurally deficient" and essentially "made-up".

Democrats spent most of their time speaking about Trump's alleged abuse of power.

The U.S. Constitution sets out the impeachment process for removing a president who commits "high crimes and misdemeanors".

Nick Akerman, a former Watergate prosecutor, told Newsweek that the president's argument against the articles of impeachment is "absolutely absurd".

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"President Trump has made clear in word and deed that he will persist in such conduct".

The House Judiciary Committee subpoenaed McGahn in the wake of the Mueller report, before Trump's infamous call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Indeed, as the former special counsel's findings made clear, the former White House counsel very almost resigned because the president directed him to "do insane s**t", including an incident in which, according to McGahn, Trump pressed the lawyer to push the Justice Department to derail the investigation by getting rid of Mueller and creating a false document to cover that up. Fresh from his trip to the Swiss Alps and the Davis World Economic Forum, the USA president's tweetstorm set a new presidential record for the most tweets and retweets in a single day - more than a 140 on Wednesday - tapped out furiously in his own defense: "The Democrats & Shifty Schiff, whose presentation to the Senate was loaded with lies and misrepresentations, are refusing to state that the Obama Administration withheld aid from many countries, including Ukraine, Pakistan, Philippines, Egypt, Honduras, & Mexico".

A new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Centre for Public Affairs Research showed the public slightly more likely to say the Senate should convict and remove Trump from office than to say it should not, 45 to 40 percent.

While the president's lawyers were not allowed to attend closed-door depositions of some witnesses during the House inquiry, his Republicans allies in Congress attended every interview and asked questions.

"So while the case may be compelling, it's not complete, it's not complete yet because we haven't heard from the President", Jones said. Former national security adviser John Bolton refused a request by the House to testify.

The Democratic house managers have done a good job laying out details and connecting elements to specific charges, Jones said.

"The House made a decision that they didn't want to slow things down by having to go through the courts and yet now they're basically saying you guys need to go through the courts", Murkowski said. "I just don't see where they are going with that".

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