WASHINGTON — Lawmakers at the Capitol are heading back to their desks for another marathon day of listening to House managers map out in detail their reasoning why President Donald Trump should be removed from office.
Democrats opened Day 2 of the Senate trial by pressing the case for the first article of impeachment, abuse of power.
They argue that evidence shows the president sought a political investigation into the Bidens from Ukraine to help influence the 2020 election.
“The president’s conduct is wrong. It is illegal. It is dangerous,” Rep. Jerrold Nadler of New York, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, told the senators.
Wednesday was the first day of opening statements that wrapped around 9 p.m. ET. There were some fireworks early on as a man was arrested following an outburst. Police say he illegally entered the chamber.
The call for witnesses is still a major topic and some GOP members have suggested they would allow witnesses as long as Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden — who is accused of corruption while sitting on the board of a gas company based in the Ukraine — to testify.
Democrats say he is not part of the impeachment process and has no bearing on the situation at hand. The Democrats are continuing to push their case.
“We will go through the law, the constitution, and the facts as they apply … We will apply the facts to the law as it pertains to the president’s abuse of power,” said House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.).
Each side has 24 hours over three days to present their case. After the House prosecutors finish Friday, the president’s lawyers will follow. They are expected to take only Sunday off and push into next week.
The impeachment stems from a July 25, 2019, phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.
In the phone conversation, Trump asked for a “favor,” according to an account provided by the White House. He wanted an investigation into both Democrats and Biden, a possible 2020 rival. Later it was revealed that the administration was also withholding $400 million in military aid from Ukraine.
Republicans argue the money was given to Ukraine without any investigation, and there was no quid pro quo, or favor for a favor.
Last month, the House approved the articles of impeachment on the charges: abused of power and obstruction of Congress.
Trump’s outside counsel says everything is going as he expected.
Jay Sekulow said that Democrats did not put anything new on the table so far. And that nothing they have said as of now is relevant to the impeachment articles, he added.
Sekulow also said he can already predict the outcome of the trial.
“I want to let them try their case and we want to try our case because we believe, without a question, the president will be acquitted. There is not a doubt,” he confidently said.
Once House managers have presented their case, the president’s lawyers get the same amount of time to make their case against removal.
And after that, senators get to ask questions and maybe hear from witnesses if both sides can hash out a plan.