Democrats worked methodically at U.S. President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial on Thursday to dismantle his long-standing allegation that Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden acted improperly toward Ukraine while vice president.
On the second day of their arguments for Trump’s removal from office, Democratic House of Representatives members argued that Biden did nothing wrong and was only carrying out official U.S. policy when he pressured Ukraine to fire its top prosecutor, Victor Shokin, because of corruption concerns.
Trump and his allies maintain that Biden wanted Shokin out in order to head off an investigation into a natural gas company, Burisma, where his son Hunter served as a director. Democrats said no evidence supported that allegation.
In more than eight hours of argument, House managers spent Thursday focusing on the charge that Trump abused his office by pressing Ukraine to investigate the Bidens purely for political gain.
They contended that Trump pushed for the probe because he was worried about facing the former vice president in November’s election. Biden is the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination.
“If we allow this gross abuse of power to continue, this president would have free rein – free rein – to abuse his control of U.S. foreign policy for personal interest, and so would any other future president,” U.S. Representative Sylvia Garcia said on the Senate floor. “And then this president, and all presidents, become above the law.”
Democrats contend senators should convict Trump on two charges brought by the Democratic-led House – abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
But the Senate, which is controlled by the Republicans, remains unlikely to do so. A two-thirds majority is needed to remove him from office.