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What to expect on day 3 of opening arguments in Trump’s impeachment trial

Foto: AP Photo/Steve Helber
Rep. Adam Schiff

  • House impeachment managers will make their final opening arguments for President Donald Trump’s removal from office on Friday.
  • Trump was impeached last month for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
  • On Wednesday, the impeachment managers, who act as prosecutors in Trump’s Senate trials, gave a broad overview of the charges against him and the timeline of his alleged misconduct.
  • On Thursday, they turned their focus to his alleged abuse of power.
  • On Friday, they will likely target his alleged obstruction of Congress.
  • Insider will embed a livestream of the day’s proceedings and cover them live when they begin.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

This week, the Senate’s impeachment trial against President Donald Trump began in earnest with opening arguments from House impeachment managers – who essentially act as prosecutors in the case – as to why the president should be removed from office.

Trump was impeached last month for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Both charges relate to his efforts to pressure Ukraine to launch politically motivated investigations against his rivals ahead of the 2020 election while withholding vital military aid and a White House meeting that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky desperately sought.

Trump is the third US president to be impeached. His trial officially began last week, and opening arguments started on Wednesday, with House impeachment managers presenting their case first.

On Wednesday, House Democrats laid out a broad yet detailed overview of the president’s scheme to pressure Ukraine into acceding to his personal demands while freezing security assistance and dangling a White House meeting for Zelensky.

Impeachment managers gave the Senate, and the public, an intricate timeline of how Trump’s efforts played out, and the lengths he went to conceal them until they were publicly revealed.

On Thursday – day two of opening arguments – House prosecutors began by discussing the constitutional grounds for impeaching Trump, and why his actions rise to the level of impeachable conduct. During the second half of the day, they turned their focus to Trump’s alleged abuse of power and all the ways his conduct went astray of official US policy.

They drew on testimony from Trump’s own officials who said his actions were „wrong,“ „inappropriate,“ and „improper.“

Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the lead House impeachment manager, ended the second day of opening arguments by skewering Trump for putting his own desires above those of the country: „The American people deserve a president they can count on to put their interest first.“

Friday’s proceedings will begin at 1 p.m. ET.

Schiff didn’t elaborate on what House prosecutors would discuss on the last day of their opening arguments but they will likely focus on obstruction of Congress.

C-SPAN and TV networks are relying on the Senate’s live feed of the trial.

C-SPAN is airing the trial at cspan.org.

Insider will embed a livestream of the trial below when it’s available.


A summary of what happened on day 2 of opening arguments

Foto: 2020 World Economic Forum in DavossourceReuters

On the second day of opening arguments, House impeachment managers hammered President Trump for boxing Ukraine into a corner while allegedly abusing his power.

They also detailed the constitutional and legal precedent that they said supports Trump’s impeachment and removal from office.

Impeachment manager Jerry Nadler, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, opened for the prosecution by detailing what he described as the „ABC’s of high crimes and misdemeanors.“

  • „Abuse of power.“
  • „Betrayal of nation, particularly through foreign entanglements.“
  • „Corruption, particularly corruption of elections.“

„The framers believed that any one of these standing alone justified removal from office,“ Nadler said.

Lead House impeachment manager Adam Schiff appeared several times throughout the day to underscore what he said was the illegality of Trump’s conduct.

„If the truth doesn’t matter, we’re lost,“ Schiff said in his closing arguments.


A summary of what happened on day 1 of opening arguments

Foto: President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speak during a meeting in New York on September 25, 2019, on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.sourceSAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, gave a broad overview of the timeline of the president’s pressure campaign in Ukraine.

It centers around a July 25 phone call Trump had with Zelensky, during which he repeatedly pressed Zelensky to launch investigations targeting former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, over the latter’s employment on the board of the Ukrainian natural-gas company Burisma Holdings.

Trump also asked Zelensky to look into a discredited conspiracy theory started by Russia suggesting Ukraine interfered in the 2016 US election.

But Schiff and the six other impeachment managers detailed that the phone call was just one data point in what turned out to be a months-long effort by Trump and his allies to leverage US foreign policy to bully Ukraine into acceding to the president’s personal, political demands.

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