Democrats worked methodically at United States President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial on Thursday to dismantle his long-standing allegation that Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden acted improperly towards Ukraine while vice president.
On the second day of their arguments for Trump’s removal from office, Democratic House of Representatives members acting as prosecutors argued that Biden was carrying out official US policy when he pressured Ukraine to fire its top prosecutor, Victor Shokin, because of corruption concerns.
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Trump and his allies maintain that Biden wanted Shokin out in order to head off an investigation into a natural gas company, Burisma, where his son Hunter served as a director. Democrats said no evidence supported that allegation.
Democrats argued, instead, that Trump pushed the Ukrainian government to probe Biden and his son because he was worried about facing the former vice president in November’s election. Biden is the frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination.
“There was no basis for the investigation that the president was pursuing and pushing. None. He was doing it only for his own political benefit,” US Representative Sylvia Garcia said on the Senate floor.
Democrats contend senators should convict Trump on two charges brought by the Democratic-led House – abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
But the Senate, which is controlled by Trump’s fellow Republicans, remains unlikely to do so. A two-thirds majority is needed to remove him from office.
Lead manager House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff delivers an opening argument in the US Senate Chamber [US Senate TV/Reuters]