Democrats, White House wrap up case at Trump Senate trial
Washington: Democratic prosecutors declaring “no one is above the law” went head to head with White House lawyers as closing arguments wrapped up at President Donald Trump's Senate impeachment trial, setting the stage for his likely acquittal on Wednesday.
“You can't trust this president to do the right thing,” chief House prosecutor Adam Schiff said in an emotional speech on the Senate floor on Monday at the end of the two-week trial.
“Truth matters little to him,” the California lawmaker told the 100 members of the Senate who will decide Trump's fate. “What's right matters even less and decency matters not at all.
“He will not change and you know it,” Schiff said of the former New York real estate tycoon turned politician. “Now do impartial justice and convict him.”
White House lawyers flatly rejected the arguments that Trump -- just the third president in US history to be impeached by the House of Representatives -- should be removed from office by the Senate for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
“The president has done nothing wrong,” White House counsel Pat Cipollone said, calling the impeachment by the Democratic-led House “purely partisan and political.”
“We put our faith in the Senate,” he said.
“End the era of impeachment once and for all,” Cipollone said, arguing that the American people -- not the Senate -- should decide whether Trump remains in office.
Jay Sekulow, another of Trump's lawyers, said the House impeachment was “reckless” and urged the Senate to acquit.
“The bottom line is that the president's opponents don't like the president and they don't like his policies,” Sekulow said.
The Senate is to vote at 4:00 pm (2100 GMT) on Wednesday and the Republican president is all but certain of being acquitted.
Republicans hold 53 seats in the Senate to 47 for the Democrats, but a two-thirds majority, or 67 senators, is needed to remove a president from office.
Trump was scheduled to deliver his nationally televised “State of the Union” speech to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday and has voiced no plans to delay until after the Senate vote. - AFP