clearn.png
Thursday June 4th, 2020 4:06AM

Key questions asked during impeachment trial

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

WASHINGTON (AP) — There were questions about quid pro quos and whisteblowers, the Constitution and an unpublished book.

Senators in President Donald Trump's impeachment trial posed dozens of questions to White House lawyers and to House Democrats prosecuting the case. The questions, written on paper and read aloud by Chief Justice John Roberts, provided a window into the thinking of senators who until now had been silent inside the chamber.

A look at some of the more notable exchanges:

____

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER, D-N.Y.: “Is there any way for the Senate to render a fully informed verdict in this case without hearing the testimony of Bolton, Mulvaney and the other key eyewitnesses, or without seeing the relevant documentary evidence?"

— This was the first Democratic question of the evening and it encapsulated the principal unresolved issue of the impeachment trial: Will there be enough votes to allow witnesses?

Democrats are clamoring to hear from John Bolton, the former Trump administration national security adviser who writes in a forthcoming book that Trump wanted to withhold military aid from Ukraine until it helped with investigations into Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. They also asked multiple questions about White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, who bluntly acknowledged a quid pro quo with Ukraine at a news conference last year.

Rep. Adam Schiff, the chief House prosecutor, said there was no way to have a complete trial without documents or witnesses. Referring back to an earlier question about the president's motives, Schiff told senators they had a chance to hear from a witness who could provide first-hand testimony on motive. He told them they didn't need to wait for the book's March release.

Pat Philbin, the deputy White House counsel, said inviting new witnesses into the trial would create a dangerous precedent and leave the Senate “effectively paralyzed for months on end" because it would have to do investigative work the House never did.

____

SEN. PATRICK LEAHY, D-VT.: “The president’s counsel argues that there was no harm done, that the aid was ultimately released to Ukraine, the president met with Zelenskiy at the UN in September and that this president has treated Ukraine more favorably than his predecessors. What is your response?”

— This question to House managers sought to tee up a rebuttal to a White House defense that Democrats have derisively referred to as the “no harm/no foul" argument but that has clearly resonated with Republican senators.

Since the aid was released without Ukraine ever announcing an investigation into the Bidens, was there anything really improper about the whole affair?

The answer is yes, at least according to Democratic Rep. Val Demings, who pointed out that it took the work of Congress to ensure that Ukraine “didn't miss out on" the aid to which it was entitled.

“There was harm and there was foul, and let us not forget that Ukraine is not an enemy," Demings said. “They’re not an adversary, they are our friends."

_____

SEN. SUSAN COLLINS, R-MAINE, and SEN. LISA MURKOWSKI, R-ALASKA: “Before Vice President Biden formally entered the 2020 presidential race in April 2019, did President Trump ever mention Joe or Hunter Biden in connection with corruption in Ukraine to former Ukrainian President (Petro) Poroshenko or other Ukrainian officials, President Trump's Cabinet members or top aides, or others. If so, what did the president say, to whom, and when?"

— This question was important not only for the content but for the questioners.

Both Republicans are being closely watched for their views on witnesses and acquittal, though they've been reluctant to publicly telegraph much.

But in this question, they're testing one of the Trump legal team's most persistent defenses — that Trump's request for Ukraine to conduct investigations wasn't limited to Biden, but reflected his broader concerns about corruption in the former Soviet republic.

Philbin said he was limited to what was in the record put forward by the House.

“I can't point to something in the record that shows President Trump at an earlier time mentioning specifically something related to Joe or Hunter Biden," he added. “It is in the record that he spoke to President Poroshenko twice about corruption in the Ukraine, both in June of 2017 and again in September of 2017.”

Hours later, a Democrat, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, re-upped the question, as if to press the point.

_____

SEN. TED CRUZ, R-TEXAS: “As a matter of law, does it matter if there was a quid pro quo? Is it true quid pro quos are often used in foreign policy?"

— This question was important because it appeared to say “so what?" to the central allegation of the impeachment case — that Trump had made military aid contingent on Ukraine investigating Biden.

Cruz's question suggested that people could accept Bolton's reported account — that Trump wanted to tie up the money until Ukraine announced the investigations — and nonetheless reject it as irrelevant.

It also set off a compelling back-and-forth between Trump attorney Alan Dershowitz and Schiff. Dershowitz said many elected officials equate their election with public good, and so long as they're not motivated solely by personal financial gain, they shouldn't be challenged on their motive.

“That's why it's so dangerous to try to psychoanalyze a president,” Dershowitz said.

Schiff appeared stunned, invoking a hypothetical in which Democratic President Barack Obama asked Russia to dig up dirt on 2012 opponent Mitt Romney in exchange for the U.S. withholding aid to Ukraine.

“All quid pro quos are not the same," Schiff retorted. Some might be acceptable, some not. “And you don't need to be a mind reader to figure out which is which. For one thing, you can ask John Bolton."

_____

Associated Press writer Lisa Mascaro contributed to this report.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Elections, General Election News, General Presidential Election News
© Copyright 2020 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
US reports 1st case of person-to-person spread of new virus
Health officials are reporting the first U.S. case of person-to-person spread of the new virus from China
12:44PM ( 20 minutes ago )
Mr. Stop Brexit won't give up despite UK's departure from EU
Mr. Stop Brexit may have failed in his main goal, but he's not giving up
12:40PM ( 23 minutes ago )
Bloomberg, Trump detail campaign ads to air on Super Bowl
Super Bowl viewers will see political ads during Sunday's game from Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg and President Donald Trump
12:36PM ( 28 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Israel PM meets with Putin, returns with freed tourist
The Israeli prime minister has visited Moscow to discuss the U.S. proposal for the Middle East and to take back home an Israeli woman who had been jailed in Russia on drug charges
12:15PM ( 49 minutes ago )
Dershowitz says his Trump impeachment defense distorted
Retired professor Alan Dershowitz, a member of President Donald Trump' impeachment defense team, is now saying his sweeping argument against conviction in the trial was misunderstood
11:54AM ( 1 hour ago )
Brain injuries in Iraq put attention on invisible war wounds
The spotlight on brain injuries suffered by American troops in Iraq this month is an example America's episodic attention to this type of war wound, even though it has affected hundreds of thousands over the past two decades
11:48AM ( 1 hour ago )
AP National News
Hummer is making a comeback, but this time it's electric
The Hummer is making a comeback, only this time it won't guzzle gas or spew greenhouse gases
10:48AM ( 2 hours ago )
Wary of irking China, Trump offers rosy take on virus threat
President Donald Trump has been conspicuously quiet about a big issue that has much of the globe on pins and needles: the spread of a new type of coronavirus
10:43AM ( 2 hours ago )
Vanessa Bryant statement: 'We are completely devastated'
Vanessa Bryant made her first public comment since the helicopter crash that killed husband Kobe Bryant, one of their daughters and seven other people
9:51AM ( 3 hours ago )
AP Online National News
Weinstein's rape trial shifts gears after intense testimony
After a day of intense testimony at Harvey Weinstein’s rape trial, prosecutors are expected to shift gears Thursday with a slate of ancillary witnesses
1:17AM ( 11 hours ago )
Kobe Bryant's death throws spotlight on crash-warning system
The helicopter crash that killed nine people including Kobe Bryant has renewed the debate over the merits of a cockpit warning system designed to prevent crashes
12:56AM ( 12 hours ago )
Trial highlights: Senators' questions launch pointed debate
Senators' written inquiries at President Donald Trump's impeachment trial have led to pointed, back-and-forth debate, with Trump's legal team and House Democrats acting as prosecutors press their respective cases
12:34AM ( 12 hours ago )
Top General short headlines
Postal workers union with 200,000 members endorses Sanders
Bernie Sanders has been endorsed by the 200,000-member American Postal Workers Union
12:11PM ( 52 minutes ago )
Bloomberg backed by DC mayor, Biden endorsed by Richmond's
Democratic presidential candidates Michael Bloomberg and Joe Biden have announced endorsements from prominent African American mayors as next week's leadoff Iowa caucuses near
12:10PM ( 53 minutes ago )
German far-right leader's parliamentary immunity lifted
German lawmakers  have lifted the parliamentary immunity of a leading far-right politician as part of a probe into alleged tax irregularities
12:06PM ( 58 minutes ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Asked and answered? Senators have their say in Trump trial
Fidgety senators had their first chance to do something other than sit in silence at President Donald Trump's impeachment trial
12:34AM ( 12 hours ago )
3 Senate Dems from red states waver on impeachment votes
The Senate impeachment trial is grinding toward its climax, but how three Democratic senators will vote remains unclear
12:33AM ( 12 hours ago )
Even with no major rival, Trump steps up early state effort
President Donald Trump is set to coast to victory in the first Republican primary contests of 2020, but that doesn't mean he's taking them for granted
12:31AM ( 12 hours ago )
AP Elections
Fight over Bolton gives Romney a chance for Senate clout
Impeachment is giving Sen. Mitt Romney a big moment, again
8:18AM ( 1 day ago )
Klobuchar makes quick trip to Iowa in midst of impeachment
Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar has made a last-minute trip to Iowa following arguments in President Donald Trump's impeachment trial in Washington
10:01PM ( 1 day ago )
Bloomberg creates a parallel presidential race. Can he win?
When the leading Democratic presidential candidates marked Martin Luther King Jr. Day by linking arms and marching through South Carolina, Michael Bloomberg was nowhere near the early primary state
9:39PM ( 1 day ago )
General Election News
Trial highlights: Trump defense urges end to impeachment
President Donald Trump’s legal team concluded its three-day presentation on the same note with which it began — that the Democrats’ case amounted to partisan politics that would undo the results of the 2016 presidential election
12:21AM ( 1 day ago )
GOP lacks votes to block trial witnesses, McConnell concedes
President Donald Trump’s lawyers have made their closing case for a speedy impeachment acquittal, but some Republicans who heard hours of arguments have signaled they are not yet ready to block witnesses and bring the trial to a close
9:28PM ( 1 day ago )
Biden won't say whether Sanders could unify Dems as nominee
Former Vice President Joe Biden won't say whether he thinks Bernie Sanders could unify the Democratic Party as nominee
7:09PM ( 1 day ago )
General Presidential Election News
US reports 1st case of person-to-person spread of new virus
Health officials are reporting the first U.S. case of person-to-person spread of the new virus from China
12:44PM ( 20 minutes ago )
China counts 170 virus deaths, new countries find infections
China has raised the death toll to 170 and more countries reported infections from a new virus, including some spread locally
12:41PM ( 23 minutes ago )
Mr. Stop Brexit won't give up despite UK's departure from EU
Mr. Stop Brexit may have failed in his main goal, but he's not giving up
12:40PM ( 23 minutes ago )
Bloomberg, Trump detail campaign ads to air on Super Bowl
Super Bowl viewers will see political ads during Sunday's game from Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg and President Donald Trump
12:36PM ( 28 minutes ago )
US economy grew modestly last quarter against a hazy outlook
The U.S. economy expanded at a moderate 2.1% annual rate in the final three months of 2019, capping a year when a weak global landscape and a sharp pullback in business investment resulting from President Donald Trump's trade fights combined to slow growth
12:32PM ( 31 minutes ago )