Michael Stenger, the sergeant-at-arms, has opened proceedings in the Senate chamber and Chief Justice Roberts has said to Trump’s team: “The Senate will now hear from you.”
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Democratic Representative Adam Schiff ended three days of prosecution testimony on Friday. Here are some key quotes:
- On the need to not rush proceedings: “This is no parking ticket we are contesting, no shoplifting case we are prosecuting. It is a matter of high crimes and misdemeanours”
- On the historical significance of the trial: “I think of how unforgiving history can be of our conduct… I believe this may be one of those moments, a moment we never thought we would see, when the democracy was gravely threatened not from without but from within”
- Appealing to Republicans to defect: “Real political courage doesn’t come from disagreeing with our opponents but from disagreeing with our friends, and with our own party.”
- His concluding remarks, appealing for fairness: “Americans get a fair trial. And so I ask you, I implore you, give America a fair trial. Give America a fair trial. She’s worth it.”
The president is not happy about the weekend time slot assigned to his defence team – calling it “Death Valley in TV” earlier this week.
But he still wants to make sure the American public is tuning in.
In his first tweet on Saturday about the impeachment trial, the president assailed notable Democrats with some of his favourite nicknames – “Nervous” Nancy Pelosi, “Shifty” Adam Schiff, “Cryin'” Chuck Schumer and “dumb” Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez – before listing the TV stations broadcasting his lawyers’s arguments.
When Republicans shortened the time given to the trial on Saturday, the president’s lawyers denied it had anything to do with TV audiences.
Tuesday saw a mammoth tussle between Democrats and Republicans over the rules of the trial. Proceedings didn’t end until the early hours – after almost 13 hours of rancorous debate in which 11 Democrat-backed motions were blocked.
They wanted witnesses like John Bolton to appear to give evidence. They lost that fight but the issue will come up again next week.
It was decided that both sides would get three days to present their case. The House managers – the Democrats prosecuting the case – opened their arguments on Wednesday.
The prosecution spent Thursday explaining why the President Trump’s actions on Ukraine should lead to his conviction and removal from office. They also tried to debunk claims the president has made about Joe and Hunter Biden. Part of a powerful speech by Rep Adam Schiff, who is leading the prosecution, got a lot of attention online.
He told Senators they could not trust the president to do best for the country, only himself, and told them they must find the president guilty and remove him: “Because right matters and the truth matters. Otherwise, we are lost.”
Friday was the final day of the prosecution’s case and they focused on the obstruction charge. Mr Schiff closed his side’s defence with a speech that we will break down for you shortly.