WASHINGTON — The House impeachment managers were expected to use their last remaining hours of arguments Friday to lay out more details of the second article of impeachment, obstruction of Congress.
The managers have almost eight hours to present their case before the Republican-led Senate today, including closing arguments, though they aren’t required to use the entire time.
After the impeachment managers wrap up, Trump’s legal team will be allowed to begin their opening statements. They, too, will have 24 hours over three days to argue their case.
Arguments in the Senate impeachment trial were expected to resume at 1 p.m. ET.
Thursday’s arguments went well into the night, with prosecutors saying Trump abused his power for his own personal benefit.
Many Republicans think House managers are saying the same thing repeatedly and not providing any new context to the situation.
Democrats, for their part, say the accusations underscore the serious nature of the alleged crime and the national security risk it imposes.
The entire impeachment came from a July 25, 2019, phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. 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 Vice President Joe 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.
Trump claims he had good reasons for pressuring Ukraine to investigate Biden. Trump, with attorney Rudy Giuliani, pursued the investigations of Biden and his son, Hunter, who is accused of corruption while sitting on the board of a gas company based in Ukraine, and sought the probe of debunked theories of what nation was guilty of interference in the 2016 U.S. election.
Democratic Rep. Sylvia Garcia of Texas, a former judge, aid there is “no evidence, nothing, nada” to suggest that Biden did anything improper in dealings with Ukraine.
The president’s legal team is now suggesting witnesses could happen, but they also have executive privilege as an option. That could lead to a drawn-out trial if courts need to get involved.
“If the other side were to get witnesses, we would have a series of witnesses. But we are nowhere near that process yet,” said Trump attorney Jay Sekulow.
Republicans hold a 53-47 majority in the Senate, and acquittal is considered likely.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.