Thursday, 27 February, 2020

Trump and Democrats issue dueling arguments over impeachment

Ken Starr wearing a suit and tie Kenneth W. Starr investigated President Bill Clinton and wrote the report that led to his impeachment Ken Starr, Alan Dershowitz To Join Donald Trump’s Legal Team For Impeachment Trial
Travis Berry | 20 January, 2020, 00:28

The man leading Mr Trump's legal team, White House counsel Pat Cipollone, rarely speaks on the record and does not make television appearances.

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts is presiding over the proceedings, and the Senate is being adjusted for the trial, including adding the ability to play audio and video, normally forbidden in the chamber.

On 18 December, the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives voted along party lines to impeach Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress for freezing military aid to Ukraine in exchange for Kiev launching a probe of political rival Joe Biden.

The impeachment process risks doing "lasting damage to our structure of government", she said.

The Trump team, meanwhile, called the Senate's formal impeachment summons to the two articles of impeachment "a unsafe attack on the right of the American people to freely choose their president".

One Republican whose votes are closely watched, Sen. Both senators have acknowledged the need for a fair trial, despite disagreeing on the procedural mechanisms to achieve one.

He has previously called the idea of a trial without witnesses "insane", saying it "makes no sense" for jurors in a big trial to not hear from "firsthand witnesses that saw what happened".

"And when the President got caught, he tried to cover it up by obstructing the House's investigation into his misconduct".

Describing the evidence against Trump as "overwhelming", they argue that the only question that stands is "whether the members of the Senate will accept and carry out the responsibility" to vote Trump out of the office.

"The indictments submitted by the Democrats in the House constitute a risky attack on the right of the American people to freely choose their president", said the response.

Severe storm sweeps south-east USA , killing at least seven
Texas Governor, Greg Abbott, claimed helicopters, medical and rescue teams had been placed on standby in case they are needed. But there could be brief spin-up tornadoes in this time frame, which develop with little to no advance warning, she said.

If the Senate votes to refuse witnesses in Trump's trial, it will be the first time in USA history an impeachment trial has not allowed witness testimony.

The case that House prosecutors sent to the Senate references new evidence that wasn't part of the impeachment inquiry, including material from Lev Parnas, an associate of Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani.

Trump on Friday appointed several nationally known lawyers to the team that will defend him in the proceedings, set to open Tuesday afternoon.

That said, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has essentially anticipated the Senate result. The same outcome is expected in Trump's trial. The White House has said that it believed Trump was acting within his legal authority.

"The impeachment items now before the Senate are an affront to the Constitution of the United States, to our democratic institutions and to the American people", the letter said.

Most constitutional scholars agree that the term "high crimes and misdemeanors", which appears in the impeachment clause in the Constitution, does not refer to a violation of federal criminal statutes, but to a crime against the American public at large, and that it is up to Congress to determine what qualifies.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has given the House until Saturday and the White House counsel until Monday to deliver trial briefs outlining their arguments, allowing a House deadline for rebuttal the following day.

According to the lawyers, the articles of impeachment now before the Senate are an affront to the Constitution of the United States, democratic institutions, and the American people. The WH's legal team said that the articles of impeachment are a unsafe attack on the right of the American people.

At issue in the impeachment case are allegations that Trump asked Ukraine to announce an investigation of Democratic political rival Joe Biden at the same time the White House withheld hundreds of almost $400 million in aid from the former Soviet republic as it faces a hostile Russian Federation at its border. Trump is charged with withholding the $391 million in security assistance to put pressure on Kiev to announce an investigation of the Bidens, to boost his 2020 re-election prospects.

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