WASHINGTON DC –House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff and the other impeachment managers detailed the House’s case for removing President Donald Trump from office as the Senate’s trial on Wednesday shifted to opening arguments following a contentious debate over subpoenas and witnesses.
The seven impeachment managers took turns laying out in detail the House’s case that led to passage of two articles of impeachment last month for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. The managers argued to senators that the House had overwhelming evidence that Trump abused his office and obstructed Congress but that the case would be even clearer to both the Senate jurors and the public if senators voted to obtain additional witnesses and documents.
Schiff, the lead impeachment manager, kicked off the House’s case by invoking invoked Founding Father Alexander Hamilton in his opening statement, before the managers walked through the House’s case throughout the day, which argued the President’s abuse of his office was a months-long scheme across the federal government — not just Trump’s July 2019 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
“We are here today — in this hallowed chamber, undertaking this solemn action for only the third time in history –because Donald J. Trump, the 45th President of the United States, has acted precisely as Hamilton and his contemporaries had feared,” the California Democrat said. “President Trump solicited foreign interference in our democratic elections, abusing the power of his office by seeking help from abroad to improve his reelection prospects at home. And when he was caught, he used the powers of that office to obstruct the investigation into his own misconduct.”
Schiff’s presentation marked a new phase of the trial, after a marathon debate on Tuesday where Republicans repeatedly rejected motions to subpoena witnesses and documents related to the Ukraine scandal. The House’s 24 hours of arguments, which will be spread over three days, are intended to hammer home its case but also to try to convince moderate GOP senators that the trial should include additional testimony and documents.
It’s not clear whether the votes will be there for Democrats, as four Republican senators would need to join with them in voting for subpoenaing documents and witnesses. Many GOP senators said they remained unconvinced after the Democratic presentation, which they criticized as repetitive.
“Certainly senators are struggling to try to see why we have to sit there, sit hearing the same arguments over and over and over and over again,” said Sen. John Cornyn, a Texas Republican.