US lead house impeachment manager Adam Schiff called dramatically for the Senate to remove President Donald Trump from office on Thursday and said that the US leader cannot be trusted to put the country’s interests ahead of his own.
Schiff said, “The American people deserve a president they can count on, to put their interest first”.
His impassioned words capped a long day in which Democrats detailed Trump’s illicit scheme to pressure Ukraine to help his 2020 reelection campaign.
“You know, you can’t trust this president to do what is right for this country. You can trust he will do what’s right for Donald Trump,” Schiff added.
“He’ll do it now. He’s done it before. He’ll do it for the next several months. He’ll do it in the election if he’s allowed to. This is why, if you find him guilty, you must find that he should be removed.” “Because of the right matters. And truth matters. Otherwise, we are lost”, he noted.
Earlier this week, the second phase of Trump’s impeachment trial began in Senate house Republicans determined to acquit him- and quickly, if possible.
Democrats, who control the House of Representatives and led the investigation, accuse Trump of manipulating Ukraine by withholding nearly $400 million in military aid for its war against Russian-backed separatists and a White House meeting for Zelensky until the latter announced a Biden probe.
Schiff’s prosecution team detailed how Trump flagrantly undertook last year to force Kiev to help him tarnish his possible 2020 reelection rival, former vice president Joe Biden.
On December 18, President Trump was formally impeached in a historic vote in the House of Representatives.
On Saturday, Trump’s legal team presented its line of defence for his impeachment probe, a process they dismissed as unconstitutional and “dangerous”.
In an initial response to the president’s being charged, written by Cipollone and Sekulow, the defense said that the articles of impeachment — passed by the majority-Democrat House of Representatives — “are a dangerous attack on the right of the American people to freely choose their president.”
On Monday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell proposed rules calling for each side to have 24 hours over two days to present their arguments which makes for long trial days stretching late into the night but is a significantly quicker pace than in Bill Clinton’s impeachment trial in 1999. The chamber will debate and vote on the proposed rules Tuesday.
Last week, Trump unexpectedly brought up the impeachment during a reception at the White House for the Louisiana State University football team four days after they were crowned national champions.
Earlier this week, both Trump and McConnell said that the White House could claim executive privilege to refuse the subpoenas, forcing a court challenge that could prolong the case well into February.
In September, the impeachment inquiry, which Nancy Pelosi initiated over a complaint by an anonymous whistleblower, is looking into White House’s alleged efforts to withhold military aid to have Ukraine investigate a Trump’s political rival, Joe Biden.
Democrats are hoping their arguments will at least persuade some Republicans, who hold a 53-47 majority in the Senate, to support their call to issue subpoenas next week for four top current and former Trump aides to testify, and for internal White House records about the Ukraine affair.
(With inputs from AFP)