United States House of Representatives’ managers have concluded the final day of their opening arguments in the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump at the Senate.
They wrapped up the House’s three-day case with Trump’s “Obstruction of Congress”. They are seeking the removal of the President from office.
One of the House impeachment managers, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, suggested Trump’s actions involving Ukraine are an attack on America’s character.
In his opening argument, he detailed the Democrats’ evidence against the President, claiming that he worked hard to hide his misconduct.
“There’s a toxic mess at 1600 Pennsylvania avenue, and I humbly suggest that it’s our collective job on behalf of the American people to try to clean it up,” Jeffries said.
“President Trump tried to cheat. He got caught, and then he worked hard to cover it up.”
Jeffries said that by July 2019, White House officials were aware of “serious allegations of misconduct by President Trump” regarding the withheld military aid to Ukraine. “But instead of halting the President’s corrupt scheme, they worked overtime to conceal it from the American people,” he said.
“As additional evidence mounted, the Republicans worked hard to keep the American people from learning about the president’s misconduct. Secretary of State Pompeo, Secretary of Defense Esper and John Bolton tried to convince President Trump to lift the hold on the security assistance. They failed.
“The $391 million in security aid was only released because President Trump was caught red-handed,” he said.
Another House impeachment manager and Democrat, Rep. Jerry Nadler, concluded his presentation about the President’s defiance of subpoenas by calling Trump a “dictator”.
“If he is permitted to defy the Congress, categorically, to say that subpoenas from Congress in an impeachment inquiry are nonsense, then we will have lost, the House will have lost, the Senate certainly will have lost all power to hold any President accountable,” Nadler said.
“This is a determination by President Trump that he wants to be all powerful. He does not have to respect the Congress.
“He does not have to respect the representatives of the people. Only his will goes. He is a dictator. This must not stand.”
House manager Val Demings opened her remarks by discussing Trump’s direction to current and former White House officials not to comply with subpoenas to testify and turn over documents to impeachment investigators.
The Democrat also listed the government agencies that have not complied, at Trump’s direction.
“Following President Trump’s orders, the Office of the Vice President, the Office of Management and Budget, the Department of State, the Department of Energy, and the Department of Defense all continued to refuse to produce a single document or record in response to 71 specific requests, including five subpoenas,” Demings noted.
Lead Impeachment Manager, Rep. Adam Schiff urged senators not to rush the impeachment trial of Trump and to consider allowing witnesses.
“This is no parking ticket we are contesting, no shoplifting case we are prosecuting. It is a matter of high crimes and misdemeanors,” he said.
“How long is too long to have a fair trial? Fair to the President and fair to the American people. The American people do not agree on much but they will not forgive being deprived of the truth and certainly not because it took a backseat to expediency.”
The Democrat closed his argument with a final plea to senators.
“Americans get a fair trial. And so I ask you, I implore you, give America a fair trial. Give America a fair trial. She’s worth it,” he added.
Trump’s defense team is expected to take the podium at 10 am local time (4 pm Nigerian time) on Saturday to deliver their opening remarks.
The three-hour session on will set the stage for a vote over witnesses that will occur after the senators get to ask questions of both sides.
The House had in December impeached the President for Abuse of Power and Obstruction of Congress.
Trump is only the third President to face an impeachment trial in the history of the country.
He would be removed from office if convicted in the Senate but would stay in office if acquitted.