sunny.png
Wednesday June 3rd, 2020 7:48AM

Testimony coming? Abrupt acquittal? Trump trial edges on

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

WASHINGTON (AP) — Senators peppered President Donald Trump's defense and accusers with final questions at his impeachment trial Thursday night ahead of a crucial test on witnesses, the focus shifting from details of the charges to whether it was time to simply acquit and conclude the trial.

The vote on witnesses, expected Friday, could lead to an abrupt end of the trial with the expected acquittal. Or, less likely, it could bring days, if not weeks more argument as Democrats press to hear testimony from former national security adviser John Bolton and others.

Thursday's testimony included soaring pleas to the senators-as-jurors who will decide Trump's fate, to either stop a president who Democrats say has tried to cheat in the upcoming election and will again, or to shut down impeachment proceedings that Republicans insist were never more than a partisan attack.

“Let’s give the country a trial they can be proud of,” said Rep. Adam Schiff, the lead prosecutor for House Democrats. Americans, he said, know what it takes for a fair trial. He offered to take just one week for depositions of new witnesses, sparking new discussions.

Trump attorney Eric Herschmann declared the Democrats are only prosecuting the president because they can't beat him in 2020.

“We trust the American people to decide who should be our president,” Herschmann said. “Enough is Enough. Stop all of this.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was toiling to keep Friday's vote on schedule even as the trial is unearthing fresh evidence from Bolton's new book and raising alarms among Democrats and some Republicans about a Trump attorney’s controversial defense.

In a day-after tweet, Trump attorney Alan Dershowitz, complained about the portrayal of his Wednesday night testimony when he said a president is essentially immune from impeachment if he believes his actions to be in the “national interest.”

That idea frustrated some inside the White House, who felt Dershowitz's claim was unnecessary and inflammatory — irking senators with a controversial claim of vast executive powers. But those officials left it to Dershowitz to back away, wary that any public White House retreat would be viewed poorly by the president.

“I said nothing like that,” the retired professor tweeted Thursday.

His words Wednesday night: "Every public official that I know believes that his election is in the public interest. And if a president does something which he believes will help him get elected is in the public interest, that cannot be the kind of quid pro quo that results in impeachment."

Asked about it as one of the first questions Thursday, Democrat Schiff, said, "Have we learned nothing in the last half century?”

Schiff drew on the lessons of the Nixon era to warn of a “normalization of lawlessness” in the Trump presidency.

“That argument - if the president says it it can’t be illegal - failed when Richard Nixon was forced to resign," Schiff told the senators. “But that argument may succeed here, now.”

Trump was impeached by House last month on charges that he abused his power like no other president, jeopardizing Ukraine and U.S.-Ukraine relations. Democrats say Trump asked he vulnerable ally to investigate Joe Biden and debunked theories of 2016 election interference, temporarily halting American security aid to the country as it battled Russia at its border. The second article of impeachment says Trump then obstructed the House probe in a way that threatened the nation's three-branch system of checks and balances.

“This is not a banana republic,” said Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., rejecting the White House counsel's suggestion there was nothing wrong with seeking foreign election interference.

Democrats played a video showing the many times Trump called on Russia or China to intervene in U.S. politics, voicing his own belief such information could be helpful in a campaign.

The president has argued repeatedly that his dealings with Ukraine have been “perfect.”

Even though McConnell has not yet locked down the votes, the calendar he engineered at the start of the trial two weeks ago is now proving immovable as Democrats are pressing hard to force the Senate to call more witnesses to testify.

Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Mitt Romney of Utah and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska have expressed interest in hearing from Bolton and the others. But their votes may not be enough.

In a Senate split 53-47 with a Republican majority, at least four GOP senators must join all Democrats to reach the 51 votes required to call witnesses, decide whom to call or do nearly anything else in the trial.

Chief Justice John Roberts, presiding over the chamber and fielding senators' questions for the trial, could break a tie, but that seems unlikely.

The chief justice did exercise authority Thursday with a stunning rebuttal to a question posed by Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky designed to expose those familiar with the still anonymous whistleblower whose complaint about Trump's phone call with Ukraine's new president led to the impeachment inquiry.

Roberts had communicated through his staff to McConnell’s office that he did not want to read the whistleblower’s name, according to a Republican unauthorized to discuss the private conversation and granted anonymity.

“The presiding officer declines to read the question as submitted," he said.

Senators have dispatched with more than 100 queries over two days. The questions came from the parties' leaders, the senators running for the Democratic nomination against Trump and even bipartisan coalitions from both sides of the aisle.

Trump's team says the House's 28,000-page case against the president and the 17 witnesses — current and former national security officials, ambassadors and others who testified in the House proceedings — are sufficient.

Instead, Trump's lawyers focused some of their time Thursday refloating allegations against Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, who served on the board of a gas company in Ukraine while his father was vice president.

Rep. Val Demings, D-Fla., responding to one question said the Bidens have little to tell the Senate about Trump's efforts to “shake down” Ukraine for his own campaign.

Democrats argued Bolton's forthcoming book cannot be ignored. It contends he personally heard Trump say he wanted military aid withheld from Ukraine until it agreed to investigate the Bidens — the abuse of power charge that is the first article of impeachment. Trump denies saying such a thing.

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer acknowledged it's "an uphill battle" to bring four GOP senators to vote for witnesses but said, “We're still hopeful.”

The White House has blocked its officials from testifying in the proceedings and objected in a letter to Bolton's attorney to “significant amounts of classified information" in the manuscript, including at the top secret level. Bolton resigned last September — Trump says he was fired — and he and his attorney have insisted the book does not contain any classified information.

___

Associated Press writers Alan Fram, Andrew Taylor, Matthew Daly, Laurie Kellman and Padmananda Rama 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 Online Congress News, AP Elections, 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
3:08PM ( 6 minutes ago )
UN agency declares global emergency over virus from China
The World Health Organization has declared the outbreak of new virus from China a global emergency after the number of infected people spiked more than tenfold in a week
2:58PM ( 17 minutes ago )
Testimony coming? Abrupt acquittal? Trump trial edges on
President Donald Trump's impeachment trial has lurched into a final day of questions and answers before a crucial vote on calling witnesses
2:52PM ( 22 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
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
2:20PM ( 54 minutes ago )
Commerce secretary: China virus could bring jobs back to US
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross suggested that the viral outbreak in China might offer an unexpected benefit for the U.S. economy: It could encourage American manufacturers in China to return to the United States
2:18PM ( 57 minutes ago )
Democratic AGs sue to force US to ratify ERA
Three Democratic state attorneys general are suing a U.S. government official, seeking to force him to recognize Virginia’s vote this week to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment and certify the measure as part of the Constitution
2:11PM ( 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
12:59PM ( 2 hours ago )
'The Assistant' aims to go behind the headlines of #MeToo
“The Assistant” is one of the first narrative films to come out of the #MeToo movement and the Harvey Weinstein scandal
12:56PM ( 2 hours ago )
Key questions asked during impeachment trial
Senators in President Donald Trump's impeachment trial have posed dozens of questions to White House lawyers and to House Democrats prosecuting the case
11:27AM ( 3 hours ago )
AP Online National News
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 ( 3 hours ago )
Brexit finally arrives Friday: A momentous yet quiet moment
Brexit happens on Friday night without a huge fanfare
6:47AM ( 8 hours ago )
10 Things to Know for Today
Get ready for Thursday, January 30th with a few things to know about the day’s news from The Associated Press
6:01AM ( 9 hours ago )
Top General short headlines
US hits Iran with new sanctions, keeps some waivers in place
The Trump administration is continuing _ at least for two months _ its policy of not sanctioning foreign companies that work with Iran's civilian nuclear program
2:26PM ( 48 minutes ago )
Roberts declines to read Paul question on whistleblower
Chief Justice John Roberts has declined to read an impeachment trial question by Sen. Rand Paul
2:17PM ( 58 minutes ago )
House backs measures asserting congressional war powers
As the Senate is immersed in impeachment, the House is focusing its debate on matters of war and peace
1:24PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
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 ( 3 hours ago )
Pompeo reassures Britain on US relations after Brexit
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says the United States and Britain will retain and enhance their special relationship after the U.K.'s departure from the European Union this week
11:16AM ( 3 hours ago )
Pompeo in UK to talk Huawei, post-Brexit trade deal
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says the United States and Britain will retain and enhance their special relationship after the U.K.'s departure from the European Union this week
9:23AM ( 5 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
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 ( 3 hours 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 ( 3 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 ( 14 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 )
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 )
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 )
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
3:08PM ( 6 minutes ago )
UN agency declares global emergency over virus from China
The World Health Organization has declared the outbreak of new virus from China a global emergency after the number of infected people spiked more than tenfold in a week
2:58PM ( 17 minutes ago )
Congresswoman eyes document on border detention of Iranians
A U.S. congresswoman is working to verify a document showing that despite agency denials, Customs and Border Protection agents were ordered to detain Iranian-American travelers at the U.S.-Canada border in Washington state early this month
2:46PM ( 28 minutes ago )
KC fans under closer scrutiny for chants, 'tomahawk chops'
While other sports teams using Native American nicknames and imagery have faced decades of protests and boycotts, the Kansas City Chiefs have largely slid under the radar
2:38PM ( 36 minutes ago )
Tony Kanaan closing IndyCar career with 5 final oval races
Tony Kanaan is taking a farewell tour during the upcoming IndyCar season
2:37PM ( 37 minutes ago )