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AFP
January 15, 2020

US House to vote on Donald Trump’s impeachment trial

World

AFP
January 15, 2020

The trial of US President Donald Trump for abuse of power and obstruction could begin this week after House of Representatives leader Nancy Pelosi told Democrats on Tuesday she was ready to send articles of impeachment to the Senate.

In a meeting with House Democratic legislators on Tuesday, Pelosi said a vote on forwarding the charges against Trump would be held Wednesday, US media reported. The House will also vote on their impeachment managers – the Democratic team which will act as prosecutors – clearing out the last obstacles to opening the historic trial of Trump.

Trump became only the third US president to be impeached on December 18 when the House voted to formally charge him with illicitly seeking help from Ukraine for his reelection campaign this year.

Trump has branded the case a “hoax” and a “witch hunt” but the White House was girding for a trial that could present damaging evidence against the US leader on national television over two weeks or more.

Pelosi had delayed delivering the articles of impeachment to pressure the Republican-controlled Senate to agree to subpoena witnesses with direct knowledge of Trump’s pressuring Ukraine to announce a corruption probe into potential Democratic rival Joe Biden.

But with Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell refusing to agree up front on the witness issue, Pelosi has decided to move ahead.

That could see the Senate open trial proceedings as early as Wednesday, with the presentation of the articles of impeachment, the swearing in of Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts as presiding judge, and then Roberts swearing in the 100 senators to act as jurors in the case.

“It’s going to be very soon,” Democratic representative Raja Krishnamurthi told MSNBC. “People were united, they were resolute in the notion that articles, once transmitted to the Senate, need to be heard and there needs to be a fair trial. And that means witnesses and additional documents.” Few doubt the outcome of the trial – expecting the president to be cleared.