WASHINGTON – The congress opened Thursday the indictment trial of President Donald Trump, with house democrats reading the formal indictments of the pit of the American senate before all the hundred senators were sworn in as jury members for only the third indictment in American history.
“Hear, hear, hear!” Said the Senate sergeant on weapons and called the procedure.
Seven lawmakers prosecuted the charges, led by rep. Adam Schiff of the intelligence committee and rep. Jerrold Nadler of the Judicial Committee took a solemn walk across the Capitol for a second day. It is the beginning of the ceremonial protocol that moves the procedure from the democratically-led house of speaker Nancy Pelosi to the senate with the majority of republicans.
Schiff, standing in the source of the senate that is usually reserved for senators, began reading the resolution: “Accusation of Donald John Trump, President of the United States for high crimes and crimes.”
Later in the afternoon, Chief Justice John Roberts would take the oaths of the jury members to senators who swear to “do justice impartially”.
The events, which unfold during an election year while Trump is looking for another term, will be a test not only of his presidency but also of the three branches of power of the nation and its system of checks and balances. Several senators are running for the Democratic Party nomination to challenge Trump in November.
The president calls the accusation a “hoax,” even if new information emerges about his actions against Ukraine that led to the accusations against him.
Pelosi said that new allegations from an accused Trump lawyer associate Rudy Giuliani, Lev Parnas, only underlined the need for the Senate to consider further testimony about the President’s actions against Ukraine.
Pelosi noted that usually a special prosecutor would investigate, but she doubted that that would happen.
“This is an example of all the president’s henchmen,” said Pelosi, “and I hope the senators do not become part of the president’s henchmen.”
Trump is faced with a charge that he has misused his presidential power by pressuring Ukraine to investigate democratic rival Joe Biden, using military assistance to the country as leverage. Trump was also accused of obstructing the subsequent Congress probe. Prior to the procedure, the Government Accountability Office said on Thursday that the White House has violated federal law by withholding security assistance to Ukraine, which shares a border with hostile Russia.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell opened the room on Thursday with Pelosi’s decision to hand out “souvenir pens” after she signed the resolution to pass the charges on to the Senate.
“This latest show has neatly distilled the entire party process of the house into one perfect visual,” McConnell said. “” It was a transparent batch-related process from start to finish. “
Chuck Schumer, leader of the democratic senate, renewed his party’s request that the trial include new witnesses and documents that were not available for the impeachment procedure of the House.
“What is the president hiding? What is he afraid of? Schumer said.
“The severity of these charges is obvious,” he said. “The House of Representatives has accused the president of trying to bring down a foreign leader for personal gain.”
The president recently suggested that he would be open to a quick vote to simply reject the accusations, but there is insufficient Republican support for that. Yet a final vote to safeguard Trump is considered very likely.
On Wednesday, House Democrats bailed the Senate in a dramatic procession through the US Capitol.
“Today we will write history,” Pelosi said as she signed the documents, with multiple pens to hand out and mark the moment. “This president will be held responsible.”
Moments later, the prosecutors walked solemnly through the stately hall and the senate stood in the back row when the clerk of the House announced the arrival: “The House has adopted House Resolution 798, a resolution that Donald John Trump appoints and authorizes President of the United States. “
Opening arguments begin next Tuesday after the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.
Earlier Wednesday, the House voted 228-193, almost entirely according to party lines, and ended a week-long delay to deliver the charges with a count that reflected the split of the nation.
The best Republican in the House, Kevin McCarthy of California, said Americans look back on this “sad saga” that tried to remove the president from office with the “weakest thing.”
The president’s team expects acquittal for a trial in the Senate that lasts no longer than two weeks, according to senior government officials. That would be much shorter than the trial against President Bill Clinton in 1999 or the first trial against President Andrew Johnson in 1868. Both were acquitted.
The follow-up team of seven members is led by the chairmen of the House’s impeachment procedures, Rep. Adam Schiff from the intelligence committee and Jerrold Nadler from the judicial committee, two of Pelosi’s best lieutenants.
On Wednesday, Schiff released new records from Lev Parnas, an employee of Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, about Ukraine’s strategy, including an exchange with another man about investigating later fired US ambassador Marie Yovanovitch.
Schiff said the new evidence should put more pressure on McConnell, who is reluctant to allow witnesses to testify and prefers quick acquittal. The White House has instructed officials not to comply with the summons of the House for witness statements and documents.
“The challenge is to get a fair trial,” Schiff said in an interview with The Associated Press. “It should not be a challenge – if the senators will really honor their oath to be impartial, they want a fair trial. That is clearly not where Mitch McConnell comes from. “
The managers are a diverse group with legal, law enforcement and military experience, including Hakeem Jeffries from New York, Sylvia Garcia from Texas, Val Demings from Florida, Jason Crow from Colorado, and Zoe Lofgren from California.
Two are freshmen lawmakers – Crow a former Army Ranger who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, Garcia a former judge in Houston. Demings is the former police chief of Orlando and Jeffries is a lawyer and member of party leadership. Lofgren has the rare belief that he cooperated in investigating congress officials into the accusation of President Richard Nixon – he resigned before the entire House voted on the indictment – and was subsequently elected legislator during Clinton.
Republican Senator Susan Collins from Maine leads an attempt among some Republicans, including Mitt Romney from Utah, Lisa Murkowski from Alaska, and Lamar Alexander from Tennessee, as witnesses to the Senate. She told reporters that she was satisfied that the rules voted on that.
Romney said he wants to hear from John Bolton, the former White House national security adviser, who others have raised the alarm about the alternative foreign policy towards Ukraine being led by Giuliani.
Every four senators can force a result. Republicans control the room, 53-47, but it only takes 51 votes during the process to approve rules or call witnesses. Also only 51 senators were needed to vote to reject the allegations against Trump.