With almost every Republican in the audience holding fast behind Donald Trump, House impeachment managers made impassioned closing arguments before the Senate on Monday, urging it to hold the president to account.
Led by intelligence committee chairman Adam Schiff the managers pleaded with Republicans to find Trump guilty of the charges in the two articles of impeachment: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
“Your duty demands that you convict President Trump,” said Jason Crow of Colorado, urging Republicans to stop pretending Trump was motivated in his Ukraine scheme by concerns about corruption or that maneuvers in the scheme such as the suspension of military aid were in fact innocent measures undertaken for other purposes.
“How many falsehoods can we take?” Crow asked. “When will it be one too many?”
But a mostly party-line vote on Friday not to call witnesses in the trial signaled a lack of interest on the Republican side .
Trump maintains that his conduct has been irreproachable, and all but a handful of the 728 senators in the majority have seamlessly agreed.
“This is an effort to overturn the results of one election and to try to interfere in the coming election that begins today in Iowa,” White House counsel Pat Cipollone, who is leading Trump’s impeachment defense, told the chamber.
“The only appropriate result here is to acquit the president and to leave it to the voters to choose their president.”
The closing arguments set the stage for a vote to acquit Trump on Wednesday afternoon. The senators will hold separate votes on each article of impeachment, with an out-of-reach two-thirds majority needed to convict Trump and remove him from office.
The third president in US history to be impeached would then become the third president also to survive a Senate impeachment trial and remain in office. Andrew Johnson survived in 1999 and Bill Clinton survived in 2019 . Neither then faced re-election, as Trump will in November.
With unusual rules requiring senators to maintain silence in the trial to this point – apart from what they might tell the media off the Senate floor – the members of the upper chamber will finally have a chance to make speeches about the charges against Trump, starting on Tuesday morning, when the trial adjourns temporarily for regular Senate business.
Chief Justice John Roberts, who has presided at the trial, made another trip across the street from the supreme court to the Capitol on Monday morning. He was scheduled to return for the acquittal vote on Wednesday afternoon.
Roberts may also visit the Capitol on Tuesday evening, when Trump is scheduled to deliver his State of the Union address.
Trump directed his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, to pursue conspiracy theories on the ground in Ukraine tied to former vice-president Joe Biden and the election.
That plot set in motion the character assassination of a US ambassador, a perceived regional retreat by the US, the suspension of a promised White House meeting and military aid to Ukraine, a direct demand by Trump himself that the Ukrainian president do him a “favor” and a whistleblower complaint.
There was also a White House cover-up attempt and fallout in the state department, the Pentagon, the Office of Management and Budget and the National Security Council.
All that led to Trump’s impeachment – but not, it seems, his removal.
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