Impeachment trial: House Democrats to spotlight what they say is Trump’s obstruction of Congress

Author: CBS NEWS
Published: Updated:
(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

House Democrats finish their opening arguments in President Trump’s impeachment trial Friday as they try to persuade skeptical Republican senators to remove him from office. The House prosecutors will turn to the second article of impeachment, which charges Mr. Trump with obstruction of Congress.

Throughout their arguments, they’ve pointed to witnesses and documents they’d like to hear from and read but can’t because the Trump administration has blocked them.

On Thursday, the Democrats focused on the first article, arguing Mr. Trump abused his power by pressuring Ukraine for his personal political gain. They cited evidence that he held up crucial aid to Ukraine to try to get that nation’s president to announce an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son. The House managers also argued that abuse of power is a sufficient basis for an article of impeachment.

The president’s team begins its opening arguments Saturday.

Schiff caps off trial for the night, completing arguments for abuse of power article
Schiff signaled the final minutes of the evening’s remarks by thanking the senators for their patience and listening ears. All the House managers can hope for, he said, is that everyone keeps an open mind.

Schiff encouraged senators to follow the president’s own words and read the transcript summary of Mr. Trump’s July 25, 2019 call with Zelensky.

He also recounted key points of the day’s testimony, before posing the question of whether the president’s conduct, even if he’s guilty of the House managers’ assertions, merits removal from office.

“This is why he needs to be removed,” Schiff said. “Donald Trump chose Rudy Giuliani over his own intelligence agencies … when all of them were telling him this Ukraine 2016 stuff is cooky, crazy Russia propaganda, he chose not to believe them, he chose to believe Rudy Giuliani. That makes him dangerous to us, to our country.”

Most Republicans remain somber as Schiff gives concluding statement

When impeachment manager Jason Crow announced Schiff would be giving his concluding remarks, Republican Senator Tom Cotton laughed and walked over to where Senator Ben Sasse was standing.

He spoke with Sasse throughout Schiff’s concluding remarks. Senators Ron Johnson and Kevin Cramer were also chatting and laughing.

But far more of the Republican senators were somber and attentive. Senator Marco Rubio took notes throughout Schiff’s conclusion.

WH impeachment team feeling confident after second day of opening arguments, source says

A member of the White House impeachment team told CBS News that the group is feeling well-positioned ahead of their opening arguments this weekend.

The source said the team believes Democrats are failing to make their case, and the facts are on the president’s side.

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