Friday, January 24, was the last of three days for the House managers to present their opening arguments against President Donald Trump in his impeachment trial.
The prosecution has been pushing back against the notion that acquittal is a foregone conclusion, and has laid out a detailed account of Trump’s alleged crimes.
What was presented in the first three days of the impeachment trial
The House managers, led by Representative Adam Schiff, spent three days laying out the House’s case for impeachment. Their case includes the testimony of former Ukrainian diplomat Marie Yovanovitch, who has said that she was subjected to a smear campaign designed to get her removed from her post.
The final day of testimony focused on evidence that Trump obstructed justice by barring witnesses from testifying and, in doing so, withheld evidence. In the midst of the trial, Trump appeared to taunt the House managers during a press conference on Wednesday in which he said, “We have all the material. They don’t have the material.”
Video of an impassioned Thursday night argument from Adam Schiff for removing Trump from office quickly went viral. In it, Schiff asked, “Okay, he’s guilty, does he really need to be removed?” He answered by asserting that Trump “is dangerous to us, to our country,” and affirmed that the president could do serious damage to the US in the months leading up to the 2020 general election.
The Senate rules set forth that the House managers, who are serving as the prosecution for the duration of the impeachment trial, have 24 hours over three days to present their case for removing the president from office.
Background on the Senate impeachment trial
Trump has been accused of pressuring Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden in an effort to damage Biden ahead of a possible general election matchup. The alleged pressure campaign involved withholding needed military aid from Ukraine until Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky agreed to publicly announce an investigation into Biden and Biden’s son, Hunter.
After an inquiry into the matter, the US House of Representatives passed two articles of impeachment, the first for abuse of power and the second for obstruction of justice.
Prior to their opening statements, Republican Senators voted on Tuesday, January 21, to block any additional witnesses or evidence from being presented in the Senate trial beyond that which had already been presented during the House inquiry.
Who are the House managers?
The prosecution team in the impeachment trial is made up of seven Democrats. In addition to Schiff, who led the initial impeachment inquiry as the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, the team includes six other representatives from the House.
On the team is Representative Jerry Nadler, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, and Representative Hakeem Jeffries, a member of that committee.
Joining them is Representative Zoe Lofgren, a senior member of the House Judiciary Committee and the only member of the House to have had a role in the impeachment proceedings of former Presidents Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton.
Also on the team is Representative Jason Crow, an Army Ranger who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Representative Val Demings, a member of both the Judiciary and Intelligence committees and a former chief of police in Orlando, Florida.
Representative Sylvia Garcia, another member of the House Judiciary Committee, rounds out the prosecution and is a former judge.