WASHINGTON (AP) — Democratic House prosecutors are launching their final arguments Friday at Donald Trump’s impeachment trial after an impassioned plea to senators to convict him because in the U.S. “right matters.”
As Democrats press their case before skeptical Republican senators for the third day, the president’s legal team is preparing its defense, expected to start Saturday. Trump, eyes on the audience beyond the Senate chamber, bemoaned the schedule in a morning tweet, saying “looks like my lawyers will be forced to start on Saturday, which is called Death Valley in T.V.”
The Senate jurors faced another long day Friday armed with pens and paper — and, for Republicans, the gift of fidget spinners — for the historic trial. Trump is accused of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress in seeking politically motivated probes from Ukraine of political foe Joe Biden and Biden’s son while holding back congressionally approved military aid as leverage.
Rep. Adam Schiff, the Democratic chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, made an emotional plea late Thursday for senators to consider what was at stake.
“Let me tell you something. If right doesn’t matter, it doesn’t matter how good the Constitution is,” Schiff told a pin-drop-quiet room. “If you find him guilty you must find that he should be removed. Because right matters.”
The president is being tried in the Senate after the House impeached him last month, accusing him of abusing his office by asking Ukraine for the investigations while withholding aid from a U.S. ally at war with bordering Russia. The second article of impeachment accuses him of obstructing Congress by refusing to turn over documents or allow officials to testify in the House probe.
Republicans have defended Trump’s actions as appropriate and are casting the process as a politically motivated effort to weaken him in his reelection campaign. Republicans hold a 53-47 majority in the Senate, and acquittal is considered likely.
Nexstar is bringing you complete coverage of the impeachment trial. Our coverage continues on Friday at 12:50 p.m. ET with politics reporter Evan Donovan and DC correspondent Jessi Turnure.