Trump's acquittal assured, Democrats still push for conviction in trial


Closing arguments in Donald Trump's impeachment trial were made on Monday, preceding a vote on the articles of impeachment scheduled for Wednesday afternoon.

Criticism only intensified late Saturday after US media reported that USA officials cited presidential privilege in redacting 24 emails related to Mr. Trump's hold on military assistance to Ukraine, an issue at the heart of his impeachment trial for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. He is one of the potential Democratic swing votes who could vote to acquit the president when the jurors vote on Wednesday.

Ken Starr, the former independent counsel during President Bill Clinton's impeachment, argued that convicting Trump would be akin to saying: "Your vote in the last election is hereby declared null and void, and by the way, we're not going to allow you, the American people, to sit in judgment on this President and his record in November".

"I'm starting my day heading to the Senate floor for the impeachment trial".

The first contest in the state-by-state battle to determine the Democratic candidate who will challenge Trump was taking place on Monday in Iowa, a stern test for Biden as he seeks his party's nomination. A two-thirds majority is required to remove the president. He also noted that Zelensky, his top adviser, and foreign minister also disputed Democrats' claims of any quid pro quo pressure campaign.

On Friday, Democrats failed to muster the four Republican votes needed to allow witness testimony - a departure from every other impeachment trial in USA history. "Seventy five percent of Americans wanted to hear from witnesses in the impeachment trial, but Mitch McConnell refused to call even a single witness".

As the Democratic prosecutors addressed the somber Senate chamber, Trump lashed out on Twitter.

Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic speaker of the House of Representatives, which impeached Trump on December 18, accused Republicans of being "accomplices to the president's cover-up". Garcia also said Trump had committed the "ABCs of impeachable behavior", which include abusing his power, betraying the nation and corrupting US elections.

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That is the crux of the case against Mr. Trump.

"Senate Republicans have thrown all democratic norms and decades of precedent out of the window by preventing witnesses from testifying before the Senate", Eldridge added.

Among the material was more than 28,000 pages of documents gathered during the House impeachment inquiry.

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy attends a ceremony to welcome Ukrainian citizens exchanged in a prisoner swap, at Boryspil International Airport, outside Kyiv, Ukraine, Dec. 29, 2019.

After Senators decided Friday that they did not need to hear from further witnesses, the impeachment trial will resume Monday with closing arguments by the House impeachment managers. Susan Collins of ME and Mitt Romney of Utah, joined Democrats to vote for witnesses.

Bolton reportedly says in a forthcoming book that Trump told him military aid to Ukraine was tied to Kiev's investigating Biden - corroborating the central claim against the president.

"A good job. I thought they did a good job".

Rep. Val Demmings (D-FL) invoked her experience as a police chief: "Today, unfortunately, I believe we're holding young police recruits to a higher standard than we are the leader of the free world". "Inappropriate was the way I'd say- improper, crossing the line".