Washington, Jan 24 (IANS) The Democratic lawmakers who are acting as “managers” – or prosecutors – in Donald Trump’s impeachment trial in the Senate, have continued to present their argument to try and show that the US President has abused his office and that the only thing that has guided him in his relationship with Ukraine has been his own self-interest.
On Thursday, Congressman Jerry Nadler, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, told the assembled senators during the Democratic argument that the President’s conduct was “illegal”, “dangerous” and includes the worst conduct envisioned by the Founding Fathers when they wrote the Constitution, reports Efe news.
“Abuse of power, betrayal of the nation through foreign entanglements, and corruption of elections are all impeachable offences,” Nadler said, adding that “the Framers believed that any one of these standing alone justified removal” from office.
“Abuse of power is clearly an impeachable offence under the Constitution. I find it amazing the president rejects it,” he said, adding that Trump “must not remain in power one moment longer”.
He also accused Trump of doing “violence to the Constitution”, saying that that conduct constitutes “great and dangerous offences against the nation”.
“Trump isn’t ‘America first’, he’s ‘Trump first’,” said Nadler.
The impeachment trial in the Senate was in its third day on Thursday after the rules governing the process were debated on the first day and Democrats began laying out their argument against Trump on the second day by reviewing a chronology of the main elements and milestones in the case.
The Democrats plan to spend Friday explaining in detail why they prepared the two articles of impeachment against Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, taking this step after weeks of public hearings with more than a dozen witnesses of fact.
The move for impeachment began in earnest after an intelligence official filed a whistleblower complaint over a July 2019 telephone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in which the former asked the latter toopen an investigation of one of his main political rivals, former Vice President Joe Biden, and his son Hunter for alleged corruption in the East European nation.
Nadler insisted that Trump went even farther in trying to pressure Kiev to launch – or at least announce – the investigation by withholding military aid to Ukraine and a coveted White House meeting for Zelensky until he agreed to investigate the Bidens.
The Democrats also tried to dismantle Trump’s accusation that Joe Biden was involved in corruption in Ukraine, an idea that already has been debunked by the Ukrainian government and one that manager Sylvia Garcia said in her remarks before the Senate is completely baseless.
The Democratic managers accompanied their remarks with video clips including extracts of testimony before House committees from the witnesses with knowledge of the Ukraine matter and brought out some heavy artillery by showing clips of statements made in the past by Trump’s attorneys in which they contradict their current stances defending the president.
Congressman Adam Schiff, in his remarks on Thursday, said that during the 2016 presidential campaign Trump had touted a “conspiracy theory” about Ukraine hacking the Democratic National Committee servers and stealing emails, a bogus theory he said Russia had perpetrated in the first place and the president had bought into.
It will not be until Saturday that the President’s attorneys will begin their own argument defending Trump, but on Thursday they said that it would be “vigorous”.
“I assure you we will be putting on vigorous defence of both facts and rebutting what they’ve said,” Jay Sekulow, one of Trump’s attorneys, told the media.
He added that the defence team’s job is to defend the President, the office of the presidency and the Constitution.