01 de octubre de 2020
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Democrats make their case against Trump at Senate impeachment trial

Washington, Jan 22 (efe-epa).- The Democratic "managers" of the Senate impeachment trial against President Donald Trump on Wednesday began laying out in detail their case against him over his alleged attempt to pressure Ukraine and asked that he be removed from office because he has shown that "he believes that he is above the law and (is) scornful of constraint."

During the second day of the impeachment trial in the Senate, the seven Democratic congressmen from the House who were appointed by Speaker Nancy Pelosi to serve as managers - with the duties of prosecutors - began their argument indicting Trump, a process that could last until Friday and be divided into three eight-hour days.

"Donald J. Trump ... has acted precisely as (the US Founding Fathers) had feared. 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," said Adam Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.

Schiff expounded at length on the Democratic argument that Trump conditioned the delivery of almost $400 million in military aid to Ukraine and a White House meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on having Kyiv fulfill his demand to announce - though not necessarily pursue - an investigation of former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter for corruption, the ex-VP being his possible Democratic rival in the 2020 election.

"President Trump withheld hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid to a strategic partner at war with Russia to secure foreign help with his reelection, in other words, to cheat," thus engaging in "corruption," Schiff said.

"His scheme was undertaken for a simple but corrupt reason: to help him win reelection in 2020. But the effect of his scheme was to undermine our free and fair elections and place our national security at risk," continued the California Democrat.

Trump and his supporters, including a number of White House officials, have claimed that the aid, which had been pre-approved by Congress, was ultimately delivered to Ukraine for reasons quite apart from pressuring the Ukrainian government, although it was not released until after a whistleblower complaint was filed on the matter.

But then "President Trump obstructed an impeachment inquiry into that abuse of power in order to cover up his misconduct" and "ordered the entire Executive Branch of the United States of America to categorically and completely obstruct the House's impeachment inquiry," Schiff added.

He summarized the two impeachment articles that the House passed last month against Trump, abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, and said that "The House believes that an impartial juror, upon hearing the evidence that the managers will lay out in the coming days, will find that the Constitution demands the removal" of the president from office.

"If not remedied by his conviction in the Senate and removal from office, President Trump's abuse of his office and obstruction of Congress will permanently alter the balance of power among our branches of government, inviting future presidents to operate as if they too are also beyond the reach of accountability, congressional oversight, and the law," the Democrat declared.

He went on to say that "we are here today to consider a much more grave matter, and that is an attempt to use the powers of the presidency to cheat in an election," adding that "For precisely this reason, the President's misconduct cannot be decided at the ballot box - for we cannot be assured that the vote will be fairly won."

Schiff said that this week the Democratic managers will provide "overwhelming evidence" of Trump's wrongdoing, but he also warned that the Senate trial would not be "fair" if the White House did not turn over more documents it has withheld to date, documents requested by the Democrats, and also not block former National Security Adviser John Bolton and other witnesses with first-hand knowledge of the pressure on Ukraine and its cover-up from testifying during the Senate trial, something the president and Senate Republicans have tried to prevent.

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