During the ongoing impeachment trial of US President Donald Trump in the Senate on Wednesday, the Democrats made their case against POTUS, who is accused of abusing power by "pressuring” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate potential corruption involving former US Vice President Joe Biden and his son in Ukraine. Here are some highlights of Day Two of the trial.
- Lead prosecutor Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, spoke for more than two hours, saying that Trump had pursued a “corrupt scheme” to abuse his presidential power and then obstruct a congressional investigation.
- He said that he and the other six impeachment managers plan to detail the case against Trump “in narrative form” and that the House plans to outline the “constitutional framework” for impeachment.
- According to him, Trump’s behaviour is tantamount to the level of “high crimes and misdemeanours” as described in the Constitution.
- He also appealed to senators not to be “cynical” about the politics of impeachment, and focus instead on the intent of America’s Founding Fathers.
- They “feared that a president could subvert our democracy by abusing the awesome power of his office for his own personal or political gain. And so they devised a remedy as powerful as the evil it was meant to combat: ‘Impeachment’”.
- Actress and left-wing activist Alyssa Milano was spotted sitting in the front row of the public gallery’s balcony, watching Schiff’s speech. Earlier, she attended Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation hearings.
- Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer, in turn, rejected a proposal that would have allowed Trump's former national security adviser John Bolton to testify, saying “I think that's off the table”.
- Schumer also allayed fears that manager and Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler’s remarks made on Tuesday could alienate key Republicans. Nadler claimed that Republicans might become part of a “cover-up” if they didn’t vote to hear from Bolton.
- “The chief justice chastised both sides without naming anybody for rhetoric that he thought should be toned down. I think if you were a juror listening to both sides, you would have sided with the house managers because the president’s counsel didn't directly answer the question why we shouldn't have witnesses and documents,” Schumer pointed out.
- During the Wednesday trial, Capitol police quickly subdued and dragged out of the chamber a man in the visitors’ gallery who could be heard shouting, “Dismiss the charges!”, and also yelling, “you’re hurting me!”.
- House impeachment manager Jason Crow clearly had trouble holding the attention of senators given that they convened less than 12 hours after the Tuesday marathon session. Many senators left their seats or openly yawned as Crow tried to draw their attention to details of Trump’s phone talk with Zelensky.
- With the Democrats presenting their arguments, Trump, who was at the 2020 Davos World Economic Forum at the time, joked that he would face off with them by coming to “sit right in the front row and stare at their corrupt faces.” Posting 142 tweets and 124 retweets by 6:35 p.m., he set a presidential record for the largest number of tweets in a day, according to the website Factba.se, which tracks his activity on Twitter.
Trump has repeatedly blasted the impeachment efforts by Democrats as another "witch-hunt" against him in a bid to reverse the results of the 2016 election, urging in numerous Twitter messages that people read the memo of his phone call with Zelensky and put an end to the "impeachment hoax".