Washington, DC – Managers for the US House of Representatives impeachment case against President Donald Trump plan to present the constitutional grounds for removing Trump from office on the second day of their opening arguments before the Senate.
“We will go through the law, the constitution and the facts … as it pertains to the president’s abuse of power,” said Adam Schiff, the lead House manager prosecuting Trump’s impeachment trial in the Senate.
“Abuse of power” lies at the heart of House Democrats allegations against President Trump, who they say violated his oath of office by leveraging US military aid and a potential White House visit to pressure Ukraine to announce investigations in a political rival.
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During the House impeachment inquiry, three leading US constitutional scholars told the Judiciary Committee that Trump’s conduct amounted to an impeachable offence.
House managers are expected to argue on Thursday that Trump abused his powers as president by using the levers of the office to improperly pressure Ukraine to announce an investigation of Democratic politician Joe Biden and advance a debunked conspiracy theory about Russian interference in the 2016 elections.
This artist sketch depicts impeachment manager Schiff presenting an argument in the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump [Dana Verkouteren/AP Photo]
Democrats say Trump’s offences, which includes elements of bribery, extortion and misuse of office, amounts to a crime against the United States and the American people.
The US Constitution, adopted in 1789, provides that a president can be removed from office by impeachment for “bribery, treason or other high crimes and misdemeanours”. Under the Democrats theory of the case, abuse of power is a high crime.
All 100 senators – 53 Republicans, 45 Democrats and 2 independents – are sitting as jurors in the trial of Trump which is expected to last several weeks.
Senators are required to be present for the proceedings and must leave mobile phones and other devices outside the chamber.
Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts presides.
‘Shaken our democratic system’
On the first day of opening arguments, some senators took copious handwritten notes as Schiff and his House colleagues presented. Others sat listening attentively. As proceedings wore on, a number of Republicans, unable to remain in their seats, got up and left the room temporarily.