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26 January, 2020 00:00 00 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 26 January, 2020 02:07:46 AM
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Democrats wrap up case against ‘imminent threat’ Trump

Trump blocked 71 requests for docs, prevented 12 officials from testifying to impeachment probe
AFP, Washington
Democrats wrap up case against ‘imminent threat’ Trump

Donald Trump's lawyers prepared to deliver his first full-throated defense yesterday in the Senate's historic impeachment trial, after Democratic prosecutors spent three days making their case for the US president's removal from office. Capping 24 total hours of arguments, Democrats told the 100 senators that Trump abused the power of the presidency in pressuring Ukraine to launch investigations that would help him politically, and then sought to block efforts by Congress to investigate.

Democrats said they had met that burden of proof, as lead House impeachment manager Adam Schiff warned that Trump would remain an "imminent threat" to American democracy if he stays in power.

"This is Trump first, not America first," congressman Schiff told the chamber.

"I ask you, I implore you," he added, addressing Republicans who hold the power to allow witnesses to testify, against Trump's wishes.

"Give America a fair trial," Schiff said. "She's worth it."

Trump has signalled he remains in tight control of his party, with many Senate Republicans expressing public support for the president despite a vigorous, comprehensive case outlining his misconduct.

"I don't believe anything they've said so far is impeachable," Senator Rick Scott told reporters.

"I'm looking forward to the White House tomorrow starting to set the record straight, because this has just been partisan."

Trump's team begin their defense at 10:00 am (1500 GMT) Saturday, a timeslot which Trump, a former reality television star, referred to in a tweet as "Death Valley in T.V."

His side's arguments will continue Monday and Tuesday, before the chamber turns to questioning and then votes on whether to hear from witnesses, something Democrats have sought from the start. Trump's defense will be "much more concise" and "easier to understand" than the prosecution arguments, Republican Senator Mike Braun told Fox News.

Democrats argued that Trump's refusal to allow top officials to testify and to supply subpoenaed documents to the Ukraine investigation supported the second charge against

him, obstruction of Congress. Trump blocked the executive branch from responding to 71 specific requests for documents, including five subpoenas, related to his pressure on Kiev to help his 2020 reelection effort, Democratic impeachment manager Val Demings told senators.

Trump also prevented 12 current and former administration officials, most of them subpoenaed, from testifying to the investigation, she said.

“President Trump’s obstruction of the impeachment inquiry was categorical, indiscriminate and historically unprecedented,” Demings said. She said Congress could not afford to allow Trump to reject its powers in such a wholesale manner. “Executive power without any sort of restraint, without oversight, and without any checks and balances, is absolute power,” she told the Senate hearing. “And we know what has been said about absolute power. Absolute power corrupts, absolutely.”

On Twitter, Trump dismissed the entire process. “The Radical Left, Do Nothing Democrats have gone crazy,” he tweeted. “They know it’s a con, but just can’t sell it! Public strongly against Impeachment.”

Americans appear about evenly split on whether Trump should be impeached and removed. Several polls show a healthy majority want the Senate to subpoena key witnesses for Trump’s trial.

Closure of the Democrats’ opening arguments paves the way for Trump’s team to urge acquittal in only the third ever impeachment trial of a US president. Trump’s clearance is virtually assured: Senate Republicans hold a 53-47 majority, and a vote by 67 senators is required for conviction and removal.

Democrats were hoping however to woo some Republicans to embrace their arguments that the Senate should subpoena four current and former White House officials with direct knowledge of Trump’s Ukraine machinations.

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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