Representative Adam B. Schiff (D-California), the lead prosecutor in the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, opened oral arguments Wednesday afternoon, accusing the president of abusing the power of his position to “leverage foreign aid to win an election,” the New York Times reports.
“President Trump solicited foreign interference in our democratic elections, abusing the power of his office to seek help from abroad to improve his re-election prospects at home,” Schiff argued. “President Trump withheld hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid to a strategic partner at war with Russia to secure foreign help with his re-election. In other words, to cheat.”
As ESSENCE previously reported, during a July 25 phone call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky, Trump pushed Zelensky to investigate Biden for allegedly encouraging the firing of Ukraine’s top prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, who had been investigating Ukrainian natural gas company Burisma, which previously employed Hunter Biden.
William B. Taylor Jr., the acting U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, testified in a closed-door deposition with Democrats that the White House threatened to withhold military aid to Ukraine until they agreed to investigate Trump’s political adversaries. The meeting lasted for 10 hours.
Trump has continued to insist that there was “no quid pro quo” between the White House and Zelensky.
Each of the seven House impeachment managers is expected to present a different aspect of the case for up to 24 hours over a period of three days. Senators, who are sworn to silence, the New York Times reports.
Trump’s legal defense team has an equal amount of time to present its case, according to PBS.org. The impeachment trial will be conducted six days a week, beginning at 1:00 p.m. ET each day.
Watch the impeachment trial live below, courtesy of CBS News: