The Senate’s impeachment trial of President Donald Trump began with the reading aloud of the two House of Representatives-passed charges, making Trump just the third chief executive in U.S. history to face Senate proceedings.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, who is leading seven House lawmakers prosecuting the case, read the charges aloud before assembled senators, formally beginning the trial.
“In the history of the Republic, no president has ever ordered the complete defiance of an impeachment inquiry, or sought to obstruct and impede so comprehensively the ability of the House of Representatives to investigate high crimes and misdemeanors,” Schiff said, flanked by the other House prosecutors.
“This abuse of office served to cover up the president’s own repeated misconduct, and to seize and control the power of impeachment and thus to nullify a vital constitutional safeguard vested solely in the House of Representatives,” he added. Senators were sworn in later Thursday by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, who asked the 100 lawmakers to commit to doing “impartial justice” in the case. Roberts is tasked with presiding over the trial.
The two articles of impeachment against Trump — abuse of power and obstruction of Congress — related to his repeated effort to have Ukraine declare criminal investigations into leading Democratic candidate Joe Biden, and his subsequent refusal to cooperate with the House’s investigation of the matter.
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