The seven legislators who will act as prosecutors in the political trial of President Donald Trump on Thursday read before the Senate the charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, which legally began the process in this chamber, although until Tuesday the acquaintance in English as "impeachment" will not start de facto.
As stipulated by law, the president of the Supreme Court, Judge John G. Roberts, swore this Thursday as head of the Upper House, replacing Vice President Mike Pence, during the political trial. And the 100 Senate legislators also swore as members of the "jury" in this process.
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14:35 The head of the Republican majority in the US Senate, Mitch McConnell, announced that the political trial against Trump will resume on Tuesday at 1:00 p.m. local time (6:00 p.m. GMT).
14:15 The 100 American senators in charge of judging Donald Trump took an oath before the president of the Supreme Court, John Roberts. The congressmen of the Upper House swore "to give justice impartially in accordance with the Constitution and laws" in front of the 64-year-old magistrate appointed member of the highest court of the nation by President George W. Bush.
14:10 The president of the Supreme Court of Justice, John Roberts, took an oath to lead the trial.
12:45 After reading the charges, the Senate session entered a recess until 2:00 pm.
12:35 When the accusation was read in the Senate, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham tweeted that the allegations against Trump were false and had been fabricated. "After yesterday's historic trade agreement with China and the treaty with Mexico and Canada approved today, the Democrats are now reading their false articles of challenge, which they manufactured to stop DonaldTrump from his continued success on behalf of the United States. He is working – they are whining, ”he wrote on Twitter.
12:30 Democrat Adam Schiff, chairman of the Intelligence Committee of the Lower House, began reading in the Senate the two charges against Donald Trump before the political trial. "Donald John Trump, president of the United States, has been charged with serious crimes," read Schiff, appointed chief prosecutor in this process, before continuing to read the charges of those accused by the Lower House: abuse of power and Congress obstruction.
Trump is accused of abusing his power by pressuring Ukraine to investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, potential opponent of his in the elections that will take place later this year, and for obstructing the investigations initiated by Congress once the process has begun investigative
As happened when the charges were voted, the support for sending the accusation to the Senate was divided almost entirely according to the party's affiliation: they were 228 in favor and 193 against. Only one Democrat, Collin C. Peterson, from the state of Minnesota, spoke out against the decision.
The seven representatives of the lower house who will act as prosecutors for the process were also approved on Wednesday's vote. All are Democrats and among them are the presidents of the Intelligence and Judicial Committees, Adam Schiff – who will serve as chief prosecutor – and Jerrold Nadler, where the preliminary investigative stages of the process were carried out.
Once in the Senate, the seven Democrats filed the accusation and substantiated the reasons why they believe the president must be convicted. The judge will be John Roberts, president of the Supreme Court of Justice, and his function will be to preside over the hearings and eventually indicate whether any irregularity is committed.
The jury is made up of the 100 senators, who will eventually have to vote if they condemn or absolve the President. The vote of 67 of them is required to effectively remove him and, considering that the 53 Republicans have expressed their willingness to encolumnise behind the argument presented by the White House, the chances of the accusation being fruitful are extremely low.
However, Democrats have focused on the emergence of new evidence, which they say strengthens their case: it was presented by Lev Parnas, a partner of Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and accused of having a central role in Trump's efforts. and its partners to obtain concessions from the Ukrainian government.
The documents include copies of text messages and other communications, including a handwritten letter that states: "Get Zalensky (by the Ukrainian president, Zelensky) to announce that the Biden case will be investigated." Specifically, he referred to the hypothesis that connects the Ukrainian gas company Burisma – in which Biden's son, Hunter, held a managerial position – with acts of corruption.
There are also message exchanges with former Ukrainian attorney general Yuri Lutsenko, in which they seem to discuss the possibility of investigating the Biden in exchange for the removal of the now former ambassador to the country, Marie Yovanovitch. And a communication with a Republican representative, Robert F. Hyde, who claimed to have her under physical and electronic surveillance.
The ambassador was effectively transferred in May 2019, after being told that Trump had lost confidence in her. During a hearing in the context of the political trial process, Yovanovitch said that Ukrainian figures who felt threatened by their fight against corruption in the country were the ones who sought their way out.
In turn, this week Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, said in several interviews that he was behind the ambassador's departure and provided the president with information that allegedly showed that he prevented investigations that could politically benefit Trump. "I forced her out because she is corrupt," Giuliani said in an interview with Fox News.
One of the documents is a letter from Giuliani in which he tries to arrange a meeting with the Ukrainian president and, as he indicates, he does so with Trump's knowledge and approval. However, the parties continue to clash regarding the possibility of using them in the process.
In dialogue with the press, Adam Schiff highlighted the information contained in the documents and urged the White House to deliver all the requested evidence. “We have only obtained a small sample of the universe of documents that the President is retaining. If Mr. McConnell wants to follow the Clinton model, he must remember that all the documents were delivered before the trial. ”
Democrats have highlighted the decision to delay sending the articles to the Senate, rather than immediately after approving the articles in the lower house. They say that this allowed him to access the documents that strengthen his case. "Time has been our friend in this whole issue because it has provided incriminating evidence and more truth to the public eye," Pelosi said.
The next issue in containment will be the possibility of calling witnesses to the Senate. The Democrats intend to call officials and former White House officials mentioned in the case and who refused to appear before the House, such as former national security adviser, John Bolton and Cabinet Chief Mick Mulvaney.
In any case, the norm is that the witnesses are not interrogated directly by the parties and by the senators, but that they prepare questions in writing, which are then read aloud by the judge.