90 Miles From Tyranny : 5 Flash Points From Impeachment Trial’s Opening Arguments

Thursday, January 23, 2020

5 Flash Points From Impeachment Trial’s Opening Arguments



House prosecutors claimed Wednesday that President Donald Trump is trying to “cheat” to win the 2020 election, as opening arguments from each side commenced in the Senate impeachment trial of the president.

The seven House Democrats who are impeachment managers, acting as prosecutors, made their case against Trump. They include House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff of California and House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler of New York.

Presenting the other side was the president’s legal defense team, which includes White House counsel Pat Cipollone; Trump’s personal lawyer, Jay Sekulow; and former independent counsel Ken Starr.

Under rules approved late Tuesday, each side has a total of 24 hours of speaking time on the Senate floor to make their case, a time allotment that may be spread over three days.

After each side presents its case, the Senate will vote on whether to call witnesses to testify. The rules are similar to those used in the 1999 impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton, who was acquitted.

It takes a two-thirds vote, or 67 senators, to remove a president from office.

For now, the seven House impeachment managers have up to 24 hours over three days to persuade senators to convict Trump and remove him from office.

Schiff opened the proceedings with a presentation lasting more than two hours. He used video and text messages to support his case, including 2016 campaign footage and clips from sworn witnesses at the House impeachment hearings in November.

Here are five dramatic scenes from the second full day of the Senate impeachment trial, which began shortly after 1 p.m. and continued into the night.

1. ‘Cannot Be Decided at the Ballot Box’


A July 25 phone conversation between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy led to the Democrat-controlled House’s voting, without support from a single Republican, to impeach Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.


During their call, Trump and Zelenskyy referred to Hunter Biden’s highly paid role on the board of Ukrainian energy company Burisma at a time when his father, then-Vice President Joe Biden, was the Obama administration’s point man on Ukraine policy.

According to a White House transcript of the call released by the president, Trump asked Zelenskyy “to look into” Joe Biden’s admission that he forced the firing of a Ukrainian state prosecutor who was investigating Burisma.

Schiff told the Senate, sitting as a jury, that impeachment and removal of Trump is not about a policy disagreement.


“We are here today to consider a much more grave matter, and that is the attempt to use the power of the presidency to cheat in an election,” Schiff said.


Ahead of a presidential election in November, when Trump seeks a second term, Schiff rejected the notion that the matter should be left to voters.


“The president’s misconduct cannot be decided at the ballot box,” Schiff said, adding:
For we cannot be assured that the vote will be fairly won. In corruptly using his office to gain a political advantage and abusing that office in such a way to jeopardize that national security and the integrity of our elections, in obstructing the investigation into his own wrongdoing, the president has shown he believes that he is above the law and scornful of constraint.
2. Resurrecting the Russia Narrative

Although one impeachment article alleges Trump was soliciting Ukraine to meddle in the 2020 election, the House impeachment managers brought up Russia again.


This comes despite the conclusion by special counsel Robert Mueller’s team that neither Trump nor his campaign conspired with...

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1 comment:

  1. cannot discern why there are no Republican House members on the House Managers list. Perhaps the democrats have less than sterling ideas of diversity than they will publicly avow. Perhaps the southern poverty law center will investigate this lack of diversity on the democrats part. it would be an eye-watering reveal.

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