Skip to main content

Day 4 of the Senate impeachment trial


House Democrats get their final shot on Friday to make their case to the Senate and the American public that President Trump’s actions warrant conviction and removal from office.

Democrats are expected to use the fourth day of the trial—which marks their third day for opening arguments—to explore the second article of impeachment adopted by the House last month: obstruction of Congress.

During the course of last year’s Democratic investigation into Trump’s dealings with Ukraine, the White House had directed all administration officials not to cooperate in the process. While Democrats secured testimony from 17 diplomats and national security officials, most under subpoena, at least 12 others declined to appear.

Additionally, Trump refused to turn over any of the thousands of related documents subpoenaed by the impeachment investigators.

Democrats contend that blanket stonewalling violates Congress’s powers, provided by the Constitution, to be a check on the executive branch. It’s that case that the Democratic impeachment managers, led by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), will bring before the Senate on Friday.

“The Managers will continue to lay out the damning case to the two juries – the American people, and the Senators,” said a Democratic official working on the trial.

The Democrats contend Trump violated his oath of office in pressing Ukrainian leaders to find dirt on his political opponents. Last month, they adopted two separate impeachment articles, charging that Trump had first abused his powers in conducting the pressure campaign in Kyiv, and then obstructed Congress as Democrats sought to investigate the affair.

Democrats delved into the first article on Thursday in hours of arguments before the full Senate, which will offer the final verdict on whether Trump’s conduct merits his removal. On Friday, they’ll move to the obstruction charge before ceding the chamber floor to Trump’s defense team, which will have the same 24-hour window to offer its rebuttal. 

House managers have just under eight hours remaining to make their pitch to the Senate. The trial will start at 1 p.m., meaning with breaks and if Democrats use all their time it should wrap by 10 p.m.

Senators are likely to hold closed-door lunches, giving them a chance to strategize. A group of Republican senators, including Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), are also expected to pre-but the final day of arguments from House Democrats with an 11:30 a.m. press conference.

Trump's legal team, which is expected to launch its opening arguments on Saturday, has said the Democrats' impeachment articles are unconstitutional, since neither charge contains a specific violation of criminal law.

Responding last weekend to the obstruction charge, the president's lawyers — Jay Sekulow and Pat Cipollone — dismissed it as "absurd."

"The president's assertion of legitimate Executive Branch confidentiality interests grounded in the separation of powers cannot constitute obstruction of Congress," they wrote. "Asserting valid constitutional privileges and immunities cannot be an impeachable offense."

They’ve been tightlipped about strategy details for their opening arguments, but Sekulow told reporters that they would be prepared to “rebuke their case, and present our case.”

Democrats have rejected the president’s legal arguments. In their formal trial brief, they portray Trump’s information blockade as not only unconstitutional, but also unprecedented.

“President Trump is an aberration among Presidents in refusing any and all cooperation in a House impeachment investigation,” they wrote. “Even President Nixon produced numerous documents in response to Congressional subpoenas.”

The final day of arguments from House Democrats comes as Republicans have appeared restless during the days of back-to-back presentations. Senators were spotted in the chamber reading, dozing off and at times missing altogether.

They’ve bemoaned the House managers’ case as “Groundhog’s day,” indicating that they’ve felt they’ve learned little new information from the trial so far.

“It is the same thing day after day after day … as if you could impeach by just kind of repeating the same thing,” said Sen. John Barrasso (Wyo.), the No. 3 GOP senator. “We are ready for the president’s team to put their defense on.”

Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) characterized the argument from House Democrats as “rinse it, recycle it and repeat it.”

The back-and-forth between Republicans and the House managers comes as the Senate is heading toward a fight next week on whether or not to allow additional witnesses and documents. Democrats will need four Republican senators to break ranks, a potentially herculean lift given the unity within the caucus and the small pool of potential swing votes.

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) has said he would vote to call former national security adviser John Bolton, and Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) are open to witness. But even if Democrats ran the board among the trio, it would still leave them needing a fourth elusive Republican senator.

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said there are conversations ongoing with Republicans  about the need to subpoena witnesses and compel Ukraine-related documents, but stopped short of declaring victory.

"Am I certain that we'll get those four Republicans? Absolutely not. Am I certain that we won't absolutely get those four Republicans absolutely not," he said. “I have hope.”

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

First confirmed case of COVID-19 in Canyon

The Amarillo Area Public Health has confirmed 1 case of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Canyon.

"Due to sensitive information we are not able to share details regarding this case," the city said in a statement.

On Monday, Canyon Mayor Gary Hinders hosted a Facebook Live giving details of Canyon’s response to COVID-19 Status Level Red, which is aligned with the City of Amarillo and new Amarillo Public Health guidance.

Effective immediately, Amarillo Public Health has updated its coronavirus (COVID-19) Level to RED. This is the highest alert level, indicating there are widespread confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Amarillo and the surrounding area.

Hinders issued stay at home guidelines, that went into effect tonight, (March 30) at 11:59 pm and will be in place at least through Monday, April 13, 2020.

"We ask that residents stay at home except for outings essential to their own health, safety, and welfare and that of their family members," the city said.

Under these guideline…

Grocery stores impacted by COVID-19 outbreak

With the continued spread of COVID-19, many grocery stores throughout the area have been facing changes in operations as well as economic impacts.

Nancy Sharp, manager of communications and community engagement for the United “family,” which includes all Llano Logistics, RC Taylor, United Express, Amigos, Market Street and United Supermarkets, said COVID-19 has many people doing some fear-driven, panic-type buying, causing a significant increase in traffic in stores and people purchasing items.

The closure of dining establishments has also impacted sales as more people are cooking at home, which Sharp said has provided an increase to grocery stores across the country. The increase in traffic has also increased the amount of people who are working in the stores and the need for additional cleaning.

“We are cleaning multiple times a day, multiple surfaces. And so that has definitely increased the number,” Sharp said. “We're restocking several times a day; that also has increased th…

White House projects between 100,000 and 240,000 American deaths from coronavirus

President Trump's top health advisers said Tuesday that models show between 100,000 and 240,000 Americans could die from the novel coronavirus even if the country keeps stringent social distancing guidelines in place.

Without any measures to mitigate the disease's spread, those projections jump to between 1.5 and 2.2 million deaths from COVID-19.

The models, which were displayed at a White House press briefing Tuesday, underpinned Trump's decision to extend social distancing guidelines to the end of April.

Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus task force coordinator, explained the data, urging the public to steel for difficult weeks ahead while expressing hope that the efforts would reduce the spread of the coronavirus. 

“There’s no magic bullet, there’s no magic vaccine or therapy. It’s just behaviors,” Birx said, adding that it would be those behaviors that could change “the course of the viral pandemic.”

Second COVID-19 case confirmed in Canyon

The Amarillo Area Public Health has confirmed a second positive case of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Canyon. Due to sensitive information the City of Canyon is not provided details on any cases.

Last week, Mayor Gary Hinders hosted a Facebook Live giving details of Canyon’s response to COVID-19 Status Level Red, which is aligned with the City of Amarillo and new Amarillo Public Health guidance.

Effective immediately, Amarillo Public Health has updated its coronavirus (COVID-19) Level to RED. This is the highest alert level, indicating there are widespread confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Amarillo and the surrounding area.

Hinders issued stay at home guidelines, that went into effect March 30 at 11:59 pm and will be in place at least through Monday, April 13, 2020.

"We ask that residents stay at home except for outings essential to their own health, safety, and welfare and that of their family members," the city said.

Under these guidelines, all businesses, except those essenti…

50 children may have been exposed to COVID-19 at Amarillo daycare

Friday morning, City of Amarillo’s Public Health Director, Casie Stoughton, confirmed that 50 children may have been exposed to COVID-19 at an Amarillo daycare.

A child enrolled at Imagination Station Child Development Center has tested positive for COVID-19. All of the exposed children have been placed under quarantine by the City of Amarillo until at least April 10.

The daycare said it will comply with public health guidelines and plans to reopen next week.

"We will do a floor-wall-ceiling and every thing in between cleaning. We will re-open Monday morning to the families who have not been quarantined by the Public Health Department.

"Being essential workers isn’t an easy job. We are placed on the frontlines with nothing more than hand sanitizer and prayers.

"Also with being an essential worker we risk being the ones with the initial exposure. We have all made sacrifices for each other because when you feel a calling on your life you don’t back down in the face of ad…