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Democrats use words of Trump allies against him in impeachment trial

Credit: Reuters - Politics
Published on January 24, 2020 - Duration: 04:08s

Democrats use words of Trump allies against him in impeachment trial

Democrats on Thursday pressed their case at U.S. President Donald Trump’s Senate trial for removing him from office by using the words of his own allies against him to make the point that his actions constituted impeachment offenses.

Lisa Bernhard has more.

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Democrats use words of Trump allies against him in impeachment trial

(SOUND BITE) (ENGLISH) REP.

JERROLD NADLER, SAYING: "This conduct is not America First, it is Donald Trump first." House Democrats on Thursday opened their second day of arguments in President Trump's Senate impeachment trial by drilling down on abuse of power, one of two charges against him.

Representative Jerrold Nadler argued that a president can abuse his power without having committed a crime - a point he said was once made by none other than Trump attorney Alan Dershowitz back in 1998... (SOUND BITE) (ENGLISH) 1998 CLIP OF ATTORNEY ALAN DERSHOWITZ, SAYING: "If you have somebody who completely corrupts the office of president, and who abuses trust, and who poses great danger to our liberty, you don't need a technical crime..." And Republican Senator Lindsey Graham - one of Trump's staunchest supporters - during Bill Clinton's impeachment trial in early 1999.

(SOUND BITE) (ENGLISH) 1999 CLIP OF SEN.

LINDSEY GRAHAM, SAYING: "What's a high crime?

How about if an important person hurts somebody of low means.

It's not very scholarly, but I think it's the truth.

I think that's what they meant by 'high crimes' - doesn't even have to be a crime.

It's just when you start using your office and you're acting in a way that hurts people, you've committed a high crime." Trump is accused of abusing his power by withholding millions of dollars in aid to Ukraine and preventing Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky from coming to the White House until Zelensky agreed to announce an investigation into Trump's political rival, Joe Biden.

No investigation was ever announced.

Nadler called Trump's alleged pressure campaign a quote "unprecedented betrayal of the national interest." (SOUND BITE) (ENGLISH) REP.

JERROLD NADLER, SAYING: "He poses a continuing threat to our nation, to the integrity of our elections, to our democratic order.

He must not remain in power one moment longer." Trump has denied any wrongdoing.

Nadler was followed by Democratic Representative Sylvia Garcia, who set out to debunk the idea that Trump had any reason to ask Ukraine to investigate Biden, other than for his own political gain.

The former Vice President, she argued, along with other U.S. lawmakers, had called for a top Ukrainian prosecutor to be fired because they feared he was corrupt - and not because the prosecutor was conducting any investigation into Ukrainian energy company Burisma, on whose board Biden's son Hunter served.

(SOUND BITE) (ENGLISH) REP.

SYLVIA GARCIA, SAYING: "Vice President Biden followed official U.S. policy, he went through official channels to remove the prosecutor that was corrupt.

And he did it with the support of our allies.

That is the exact opposite of what President Trump did.

He pushed Ukraine for an investigation that has no basis, that no one agreed with, that was not at all U.S. policy and that only benefitted him." She also noted that the allegations against Biden first surfaced in late 2015 - nearly 4 years before Trump, in his July 25th phone call with Zelensky, asked the Ukrainian president to announce an investigation into Biden - who by that time had declared his presidential candidacy and was leading Trump in some polls.

(SOUND BITE) (ENGLISH) REP.

SYLVIA GARCIA, SAYING: "Why did President Trump instead wait until former Vice President Biden was campaigning for the Democratic nomination?

Senators, it's obvious - because President Trump wanted to hurt Vice President Biden's candidacy and help himself politically." Trump attorney Jay Sekulow on Thursday seemed unfazed by the Democrats' arguments.

(SOUND BITE) (ENGLISH) TRUMP ATTORNEY JAY SEKULOW, SAYING: "I will assure you this.

We will be putting on a vigorous defense of both fact and rebutting what they've said.

I see nothing that has changed in the last now day and a half of their two and a half days we've been going here." House Democrats have one more day to argue their case.

Trump's attorneys will then have three days for a rebuttal.

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