Democrats Warn at Impeachment Trial That Trump Will Abuse His Office Again If Not Removed

Democratic lawmakers concluded their opening arguments in Republican President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial in the U.S. Senate on Friday with a warning that he was a threat to democracy and would abuse his power again if he is not removed from office.

On the third and final day of opening statements, Democrats tried to cement their case that Trump abused his office by pressuring Kiev to investigate Joe Biden, a former vice president and 2020 Democratic presidential contender, and then obstructed Congress’ inquiry into the matter by barring witnesses and withholding documents.

“If it meets the standard of impeachable conduct, as we have proved, it doesn’t matter whether you like him. It doesn’t matter whether you dislike him,” said Representative Adam Schiff, who made the final presentation for the prosecution in what is the third such proceeding in U.S. history.

“What matters is whether he is a danger to the country, because he will do it again. And none of us can have confidence, based on his record, that he will not do it again, because he is telling us every day that he will,” Schiff said.

Trump denies any wrongdoing and describes the impeachment as a hoax.

The president’s legal team will open its defense arguments on Saturday, and will have up to 24 hours over three days to make its case. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Saturday’s session would begin at 10 a.m. ET (1500 GMT) and run for several hours.

The Democratic-led House of Representatives last month passed two articles of impeachment, setting the stage for a trial in the Republican-led Senate on whether to oust Trump before he seeks a second term in a November election.

Representative Hakeem Jeffries, another of the Democrats prosecuting the case, said Trump was “calling the shots” in soliciting Ukraine’s interference in the 2020 U.S. election and others in the White House assisted him in trying to hide evidence of the misconduct when it was exposed.

“President Trump tried to cheat, he got caught and then he worked hard to cover it up,” said Jeffries, who added there was a “toxic mess” in the White House that needed to be cleaned up on behalf of the American people.

Democrats have accused Trump of pressuring Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in a July 25 phone call to investigate Biden and his son Hunter, who served on the board of Ukrainian energy company Burisma. They say Trump temporarily withheld $391 million in U.S. military aid to Ukraine as leverage for his demands.

Democrats also said Trump’s refusal to comply with congressional subpoenas for documents and testimony in the impeachment inquiry was a textbook case of obstruction. They showed video clips of Trump’s attacks on several witnesses in the inquiry and said it amounted to “witness intimidation.”

“This is a determination by President Trump that he wants to be all-powerful. He does not have to respect the Congress. He does not have to respect the representatives of the people. Only his will goes. He is a dictator,” Democratic Representative Jerrold Nadler said.

Trump’s allies have argued his conduct does not rise to the level of an impeachable offense. The U.S. Constitution sets out the impeachment process for removing a president who commits “high crimes and misdemeanors.”

“He has shown neither remorse nor acknowledgement of wrongdoing,” said Democratic Representative Adam Schiff, who has spearheaded the prosecution of Trump in the trial. “Do you think if we do nothing, it’s going to stop now?”

Schiff urged Republican senators to show “political courage” and agree to hear from more witnesses in the trial. Republicans voted along party lines earlier in the week to block Democratic requests for four administration witnesses, including former national security adviser John Bolton.

“I implore you, give America a fair trial. She’s worth it,” Schiff said.

Democrats this week have outlined their charges that Trump only grew interested in corruption in Ukraine when it appeared that Biden could become a serious political threat.

‘GET RID OF HER’

ABC News said on Friday it had heard an audio recording from April 2018 in which Trump is heard saying he wants the dismissal of then-U.S. ambassador in Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch.

“Get rid of her!” Trump said in the recording, according to ABC News.

If true, that would bolster Democrats’ argument that Trump associates spent nearly a year trying to oust Yovanovitch because they saw her as an obstacle in their efforts to pressure Ukraine.

Trump fired Yovanovitch in May 2019. In an interview with Fox News, Trump said he had the right to fire ambassadors if he wished.

“I want to have ambassadors that are chosen by me,” he said.

The president is expected to be acquitted in the Senate, where a two-thirds vote is required to convict and remove a president from office. No Republican senator has voiced any support for his ouster.

Senator Rick Scott told reporters on Friday that the Democrats had “done a poor job” prosecuting the case while his Republican colleague Senator Mike Braun said Democrats were trying to build a circumstantial case that was a “tough sell.”

Democrats have focused their attention on a small group of Republican moderates they believe might support their efforts to bolster their case against Trump with the inclusion of new witness testimony and additional evidence.

“We know we’ll never get Trump,” Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said before the start of Friday’s session. “But four Republican senators can step forward and say that we need witnesses and documents. And there are 12 or 13 who have never said a bad word about witnesses and documents.”

(Reporting by Richard Cowan, Susan Cornwell, David Morgan, Doina Chiacu, Susan Heavey, Lisa Lambert, Makini Brice, Nandita Bose and Eric Beech in Washington and Karen Freifeld in New York; Writing by Paul Simao and John Whitesides; Editing by Jonathan Oatis, Howard Goller and Grant McCool)

Responses

  1. “why wasn’t it a problem when Barack Obama fired every Bush appointed Ambassador.” Joey

    It wasn’t a problem as far as I know.

    What King Donald The Loser did was a problem because he doesn’t have a clue as to how the D.C. machinations work, which keeps on getting himself in trouble. He didn’t know how to get rid of Yonavovitch (it took him avlong time), so he lets Rudi Ghouliani and his minions get in his head. Then it looks as if the whole thing got to him and he exploded.

  2. “why wasn’t that a problem?” ron

    The why is exactly the problem. She was in the way of our fascist Dear Leader’s crime. You just can’t ignore that by saying it wasn’t a problem.

    Rudi Ghouliani and his two henchmen kept beating it into his weak head that she would be a problem because she was ethical enough to resist his nonsense in Ukraine. She was intimately aware of who was corrupt and who wasn’t, so she saw through his Biden noise.

    You really do confuse yourself.

    1. Explain to us oh Great Confused one, why wasn’t it a problem when Barack Obama fired every Bush appointed Ambassador. Who beat it into Obama’s head to get rid of them? Maybe Hillary? What other henchman would you suggest?

  3. first stop with the firing the ambassador. he has every right to fire her. b.o. fire every bush appointed ambassador. why wasn’t that a problem? as far as abusing power, schiffy, nancy and the dimwit party take a look at yourselves. you guys have been saying that you were going to impeach him from the day he won the election, and you have use every opportunity ton do it. even if you had to make stuff up. you know like schiffy opening statement for the impeachment hearings (lies). sorry his parody

    1. “why wasn’t that a problem?” ron

      The why is exactly the problem. She was in the way of our fascist Dear Leader’s crime. You just can’t ignore that by saying it wasn’t a problem.

      Rudi Ghouliani and his two henchmen kept beating it into his weak head that she would be a problem because she was ethical enough to resist his nonsense in Ukraine. She was intimately aware of who was corrupt and who wasn’t, so she saw through his Biden noise.

      You really do confuse yourself.

  4. DemonRATs are afraid that President Trump will continue to investigate and impede the treason committed by leftists!

    1. Glenn Botts is confused by what treason is.

      Treason is NOT whatever you disagree with.

  5. Schif the traitor because he is nuts! Where is Nancy back in her wine cellar!

  6. Schiff and Pelosi are idiots especially Schif he’s nuts! I guess Nancy is in her wine cellar

  7. The communists are the ONLY ones abusing their power and they will continue until someone stops them. shiff hole and company need to be stopped. That would include people like soros.

    1. Ha ha ha ha! You so silly! This place is a riot!

      There is nothing communist about Soros.

  8. Please explain how and when he abused his power ?, did people die while he ran guns in Mexico or Libya or gave billions to countries that funded global terrorism ?

    1. You should have paid attention during the House’s investigation. If you had, you would be less confused now, Tom.

      1. If you watched it you have two problems TDS and too much time on your hands,Botboy.

  9. The Democrats misspoke. What they meant to say was THEY will continue to misuse their power. When you’ve lied as much as they have, it is tough to get these statements right.

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