In impeachment proceedings against the US President Donald Trump the defenders have finished their three-day pleadings. Chief defender Pat Cipollone urged the Senate to acquit Trump in the Ukraine affair "as soon as possible". The charges against the president must be rejected. It is without foundation and violates the US constitution.
The leading prosecutor of the opposition Democrats, Adam Schiff, rejected this argument. "Trump's lawyers can't and haven't defended him on the matter," Schiff said. Instead, they claimed that the president's actions did not justify impeachment. "Trump is guilty," said Schiff. Now witnesses should be summoned.
The prosecution and defense each had 24 hours to present their arguments over three days. With the end of the pleadings, the impeachment process against Trump goes into the next phase on Wednesday. The 100 senators can ask prosecutors and defense lawyers questions over a period of 16 hours. The questions must be submitted in writing and then read by Chief Justice John Roberts, who leads the proceedings. The House of Lords is expected to debate possible witness interviews on Friday.
Witness questioning is likely
The Republicans represent the majority in the Senate and have so far rejected witnesses. After ex-security advisor John Bolton's allegations against Donald Trump, however, several Republicans have now requested that witnesses be summoned to the impeachment process. "It is becoming increasingly clear that it is important to hear from John Bolton," said conservative Senator Mitt Romney.
Republican majority leader in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, told senators privately that he did not have enough votes to prevent the call of new witnesses, such as from Republican circles AP news agency was communicated. At least 51 senators would have to vote to call new witnesses. The Republicans have a majority of 53 out of 100 votes. You can therefore only afford to lose a maximum of three votes if you want to prevent new witnesses.
Trump is said to have told Bolton in August that he wanted the nearly 400
Millions of dollars of military aid to Ukraine for so long
hold back until the government in Kiev begins an investigation against former vice president Joe Biden, the reported New York Times citing an unpublished book manuscript by Bolton. Trump had alleged Bolton's allegations on twitter rejected.
The House of Representatives had indicted Trump with the majority of Democrats in Congress. At least 20 Republican senators would have to side with the Democrats to achieve the two-thirds majority needed for impeachment. It is currently unlikely.