Historic Trump impeachment trial to begin in earnest

21 Janvier, 2020, 13:23 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
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Trump's attorneys on Saturday denied the allegations of wrongdoing by Trump and argued that the charges themselves do not amount to impeachable offences and therefore violate the Constitution, accusing House Democrats of a "brazen and unlawful attempt" to overturn the results of the 2016 presidential election. The Republican president, who is expected to be acquitted by the Republican-controlled Senate, says he is innocent of the charges. Trump has insisted he did nothing wrong in his dealings with Ukraine, describing the July phone call he had with the Ukrainian president that prompted the investigation as "perfect".

As I posited on Monday, there could be a compromise, reminiscent of the Clinton impeachment trial, in which any witnesses are privately deposed outside the public impeachment trial.

The articles were read by lead Democratic prosecution manager Adam Schiff on the Senate floor Thursday. The first is abuse of power over efforts to pressure the president of Ukraine to launch investigations into Trump's political rival while withholding almost 400 billion USA dollars in military aid.

Here is the Democrats' case for removing Trump from office, and the Republican counter-argument.

"We are gratified that the draft resolution protects the president's rights to a fair trial, and look forward to presenting a vigorous defense on the facts and the process as quickly as possible, and seeking an acquittal as swiftly as possible", said White House legislative affairs director, Eric Ueland.

He will be overseas as his trial opens; Trump left late Monday for the economic forum in Davos, Switzerland. Asked if this means Trump's legal team will seek an immediate dismissal of the charges, the source declined to share "the exact strategy that we will have in the courtroom", but added "it is clear and I think this brief makes it clear that these charges are so insubstantial and so deficient on their face, they would merit immediate dismissal".

The Kentucky Republican has not yet shared with Democrats what the rules of the trial will be, but one aide revealed it could feature 24 hours for opening states for both the defense and prosecution with two days to spread that time out.

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Either way, McConnell's resolution lays the ground work for a trial that would likely last far fewer than the 37 calendar days that the Clinton trial took up.

"It's clear Senator McConnell is hell-bent on making it much more hard to get witnesses and documents and intent on rushing the trial through", House Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York, said on Monday evening. The chamber will debate and vote on the proposed rules Tuesday.

Trump also asked Zelenskiy to look into a debunked theory that Ukraine, not Russian Federation, interfered in the 2016 presidential election.

Trump has been impeached on two charges. Bolton has said he is willing to testify if subpoenaed.

The White House welcomed the proposal for a speedy trial.

One final point. The inclusion of new witnesses would not necessarily lengthen the trial by many weeks, as is sometimes suggested - although it could.

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