Democrats cap impeachment arguments with focus on Trump stonewalling

TheHill | 1/25/2020 | Mike Lillis and Olivia Beavers
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House Democrats launched their final round of arguments in President Trump’s impeachment trial on Friday, shifting their focus to the president’s blanket stonewalling of Congress’s inquiry into his Ukrainian affairs as another basis for his removal from office.

Democrats say Trump trampled on Congress’s legal authority to act as a check on presidential power when he adopted an across-the-board refusal to cooperate with House investigators examining his dealings with Ukraine last year.

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While their case has centered on allegations that Trump abused his power, the third and final day of the Democrats’ opening arguments will focus on the second impeachment article passed by the House last month: obstruction of Congress.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the lead manager of the House team, also signaled that Democrats intend to put up a fight Friday for witnesses, pushing back on the White House legal team’s claims of executive privilege.

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“This is not a trial over a speeding ticket or shoplifting. This is an impeachment trial involving the president of the United States,” Schiff told reporters in remarks ahead of Friday’s arguments.

“Unlike in the House where the president could play rope-a-dope in the courts for years, that is not an option for the president's team here,” he continued. “And it gives no refuge to people who want to hide behind executive privilege to avoid the truth coming out.”

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The Democrats’ impeachment case hinges on allegations that Trump withheld military aid to Ukraine, not to advance U.S. interests, but as leverage to pressure the country’s leaders to find dirt on his political opponents.

“No one anticipated that a president would stoop to this misconduct, and Congress has passed no specific law to make this behavior a crime,” House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) said Thursday. “Yet this is precisely the kind of abuse that the...
(Excerpt) Read more at: TheHill
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