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Democrats make their case against Trump in impeachment trial

House impeachment manager Adam Schiff speaks to reporters.
Michael Brochstein/Echoes Wire/Barcroft Media via Getty Images
House impeachment manager Adam Schiff speaks to reporters.

WASHINGTON, DC -- The U.S. Senate began hearing opening arguments in President Trump’s impeachment trial on Wednesday.

After about eight hours of presentation, the first day of arguments by the House managers concluded just before 10 p.m. ET.

Looking ahead -- Rep. Adam Schiff, D-California, said Thursday the impeachment managers "will go through the law, the Constitution and the facts as they apply to Article One."

Schiff, speaking for the final time Wednesday evening, offered a sweeping review of the events following the whistleblower's complaint on President Trump's phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

"Despite the clear letter of the law, the White House mobilized to keep the information in the whistleblower complaint from Congress," Schiff said.

In his "introduction" earlier in the day, Schiff attempted to bring all the threads of the Ukraine affair together for senators, accusing President Trump of using his office to pressure a foreign country to aid him politically ahead of the next election.

While Schiff was speaking about the pressure campaign on Ukraine, President Trump tweeted "NO PRESSURE" while flying back to the U.S. from a trip to Davos, Switzerland.

Republicans and Democrats both seem very engaged with Schiff's presentation, for the most part, with their binders filled with briefs and taking notes. But while many senators were taking detailed notes, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, was spotted working on a crossword puzzle for a portion of Wednesday afternoon.

Wednesday's presentation by Democrats of their case against Trump followed a marathon day of acrimonious debate over the rules for the trial.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, was forced to revise his resolution outlining the Senate proceedings after several Republican senators privately voiced concerns about elements of the proposal.

The resolution, adjusted to allow House managers and President Trump’s lawyers to make arguments over three days instead of two, and change the rules for the admission of evidence, was adopted early Wednesday morning in a 53-47 vote along party lines.

Neither side filed motions ahead of proceedings Wednesday, clearing the way for House managers to begin their arguments.

President Trump said he would be watching, and called the trial "a disgrace." The president's lawyers could have made a motion to dismiss the charges, but they did not - though top GOP senators have suggested they lacked the 51 votes needed to end the trial.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York, indicated the reason the Senate rules debate lasted until almost 2 a.m. Wednesday was that McConnell didn't want to "interfere" with his promise to President Trump to get the impeachment trial over with as quickly as possible.

Schumer, appearing at a news conference Wednesday morning with fellow Senate Democrats, told reporters that McConnell refused to move votes to later Wednesday and once again claimed Republicans " don't want a fair trial."

Noting the party-line votes in which Republicans repeatedly rejected Democratic amendments to call witnesses and subpoena documents now from the White House, State Department, Defense Department and the Office of Management and Budget, Schumer called Tuesday "a dark day and dark night for the Senate."

Article Topic Follows: Politics

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