Trump's impeachment trial to begin in US Senate, his defence team calls for immediate acquittal

WION Web Team New Delhi, India Jan 21, 2020, 08.48 AM(IST) Edited By: Bharat Sharma

US President Donald Trump Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

The Democratic-led House of Representatives' had charged Trump with the abuse of power and the obstruction of Congress

The United States President Donald Trump yesterday rejected the impeachment charges against him and called for their immediate dismissal by the Senate, where the case is due very soon. 

The Democratic-led House of Representatives' had charged Trump with the abuse of power and the obstruction of Congress.

Trump's 116-page-long Trial Memorandum is his first official defence against the charges.

Watch: Senate begins trial on Donald Trump's impeachment

"The Senate should reject the Articles of Impeachment and acquit the president immediately," the memo mentioned.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnel had recently put forward rules to facilitate a quick impeachment trial, and offered no guarantee of admission of new witnesses and evidence.

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Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) (C) is handed a document while signing the articles of impeachment of US President Donald Trump during an engrossment ceremony on Capitol Hill January 15, 2020, in Washington, DC. The US House of Representatives voted Wednesday to transmit articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump to the Senate, opening the way for the historic trial of the 45th president for abuse of power | AFP
 

The resolution could face a vote today, with Trump's lawyers intending to seek dismissal of all charges.

According to the proposal put forth by the Republicans, the Senate is expected to vote on whether the material collected by the House would be valid in the trial.

Trump is the fourth of 45 American presidents to face an impeachment hearing. Allegedly, Trump had approached Ukrainian counterpart Zelensky to investigate his political rival Joe Biden, and stopping an enquiry into his whataboutery.

The Democrats claim that by withholding US military aid to Ukraine, Trump abused his power.

Additionally, he allegedly obstructed Congress by denying access to documents and withholding testimonies from administration officials, and this was after the House had already issued a subpoena. 

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US President Donald Trump departs the White House in Washington, DC, on January 20, 2020 to attend the World Economic Forum in Davos | AFP
 

Trump's defence has reiterated that neither of the charges constitutes a crime or an impeachable offence, and that, as president, Trump has the rights to make foreign policy decisions as well as for deciding what information he gives to Congress. Additionally, his team called it a one-sided process.

Based on the defence memo, the theory of the abuse of power is not an impeachable offence and needs supplementary support from the US constitution's stature pertaining to ''Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanours''.

The memo also referred to the obstruction of Congress charge as ''frivolous and dangerous''.

The discourse of Trump's innocence and a rigged process was the memo's highlight, which suggested that this was an attempt to overturn Trump's 2016 victory and undemocratic.

It's imperative to note that the Senate is highly unlikely to remove Trump office.

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(With inputs from Reuters)