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Trump impeachment trial hears case on power abuse

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Democratic House prosecutors made an expansive case Thursday at Donald Trump’s impeachment trial that he abused power like no other president in history, swept up by a “completely bogus” Ukraine theory pushed by attorney Rudy Giuliani.

Democrats worked methodically to dismantle Trump’s long-standing allegation that Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden acted improperly toward Ukraine while vice president.

On the second day of their arguments for Trump’s removal from office, Democratic House of Representatives members argued that Biden did nothing wrong and was only carrying out official U.S. policy when he pressured Ukraine to fire its top prosecutor, Victor Shokin, because of corruption concerns.

On Friday, the Democrats will press their final day of arguments before skeptical Republican senators, focusing on the second article of impeachment, obstruction of Congress’ investigation.

As the audience of Senate jurors sat through another long day, and night, the prosecutors outlined the charge. They argued that Trump abused power for his own personal political benefit ahead of the 2020 election, even as the nation’s top FBI and national security officials were publicly warning off the theory that it was Ukraine, not Russia, that interfered in the 2016 election.

The U.S. Constitution sets out the impeachment process for removing a president who commits “high crimes and misdemeanours.” Trump’s legal team has argued that the House charges were invalid because impeachable offences must represent a specific violation of criminal law.

The charges against Trump arise from his request in a July 25 phone call last year that Ukraine investigate Biden on unsubstantiated corruption allegations and the president’s actions to impede a House inquiry into the matter.

Via Reuters / AP 

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