Trump impeachment trial: Schumer vows to "force votes" on witnesses

Daniel Fowler
January 20, 2020

The first article of impeachment relate to Trump's action in applying pressure on Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden (a leading candidate for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination) as well as withholding US$400 million in aid to help Kiev combat Russian aggression.

"We would be remiss in the House of Representatives not to follow this trail to its conclusion", said Hank Johnson, a Democrat from Georgia and a member of the judiciary committee that drafted the articles of impeachment.

And they said the charge Trump obstructed Congress was "frivolous and dangerous" and represented an attempt to alter the separation of powers outlined by the Constitution.

The latest Gallup survey on the mood of the nation found 44 percent of US adults approved of the commander-in-chief's performance going into the Senate impeachment trial, which is set to begin in earnest on Tuesday.

But that depends on Republicans being able to block Democrat demands to subpoena documents and witnesses that could strengthen the case against the president.

The Democratic briefing highlighted evidence of the scheme that has emerged since Trump was impeached in the House in December.

McConnell, R-Ky., wouldn't be obligated to publicize the final version of his resolution setting the parameters of the impeachment trial until Tuesday, but top Republicans have said they supported affording Trump the opportunity to cut the trial short.

Senate Republicans have still not set the rules for the impeachment trial a day before the proceedings are set to commence.

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He said if Democrats demand to hear testimony from Bolton, Mulvaney and others, Trump will seek to invoke executive privilege against their testimony to protect the sanctity of private White House conversations. "We think it's going to happen and going to happen readily".

"The people being asked for by Senator Schumer are the Secretary of State, the chief staff to the president of the United States, the National Security Adviser to the president of the United States, and the acting OMBD director", Graham said. That would have both sides lay out their arguments before a possible vote by senators on whether to allow witnesses.

White House lawyers are due to submit Monday a brief detailing their arguments in the impeachment trial of U.S. President Donald Trump, a day before the proceedings begin in earnest. Alaska GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski said she's comfortable waiting to decide if more information would be needed as part of the Senate's impeachment trial until after hearing arguments from House managers and attorneys for the president.

"Well, I don't know that has been actually proven", Shelby said. "But, I want to have that at a point where I know whether or not I'm going to need it".

"The case against the President of the United States is simple, the facts are indisputable, and the evidence is overwhelming", they said.

Republican Senator Rand Paul told Politico that if Democrats get their witnesses, "my insistence will be not just one witness, but that the president should be able to call any witnesses that he deems necessary to his defense", Paul said.

But McConnell has another card up his sleeve: demanding witnesses that the White House wants, even if they have little bearing on Trump's guilt or innocence.

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