Updated 10:36 a.m.
When they closed out their case against President Donald Trump, Democratic prosecutors warned he will persist in abusing his power unless Congress intervenes to remove him from office.
Conversely, when President Donald Trump's lawyers opened their impeachment trial defense — in a rare Saturday session — they accused Democrats of striving to overturn the results of the 2016 election.
The president "did absolutely nothing wrong," White House counsel Pat Cipollone said.
The defense's position is that the Democrats' investigation into Trump's dealings with Ukraine was not a fact-finding mission but rather a politically motivated effort to drive him from the White House. The legal team arguments were aimed at rebutting allegations that Trump abused his power when he asked Ukraine to investigate political rival Joe Biden and then obstructed Congress as it tried to investigate.
Trump's guiding principle is the idea that he's the president — and that means he can do what he wants. It's governed how he operates with his staff, world leaders and lawmakers. His legal team has asserted an expansive view of presidential powers and portrays the president as besieged by political opponents.
House Democrats have told the Senate that the Constitution was designed to ensure that no president could claim the absolute rights of kings. Trump's lawyers argue his position as president gives him the right to disengage from the inquiry, and is behind the acts he's accused of committing.
Rep. Adam Schiff, the lead among Democratic House impeachment managers, wrapped up their opening arguments by urging Republican senators to “Give America a fair trial” by allowing new testimony before rendering a final verdict. The arguments appear to have done nothing to shake Republicans’ support for Trump or persuade enough centrist GOP lawmakers to call for new witnesses, including former national security adviser John Bolton.
Impeachment FAQ: A Guide To Key People, Facts And Documents
It was already a tough challenge to change minds at the outset of impeachment.
Democrats have warned the GOP will live to regret not delving deeper into the evidence of Trump's dealings with Ukraine. Another of the managers, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, even told them it was “treacherous” to vote against gathering more evidence.
Still it appears the Democrats are no closer to persuading the necessary four Republicans to break with their party in a critical vote expected next week.
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