Republicans set rules for Trump’s impeachment trial in early morning vote

UNTV News   •   January 22, 2020   •   265

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (L) leaves the Senate floor during a dinner recess in the impeachment trial at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, USA, 21 January 2020. EPA-EFE/SHAWN THEW

Washington – The United States Senate in the early hours of Wednesday approved the ground rules for the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, after a 13-hour debate in which all amendments proposed by the Democrats were rejected by the Republican majority.

The rules resolution, which passed with 53-47 votes in favor, stipulates that both the House impeachment managers and Trump’s defense teams will get 24 hours spread over three days to make their arguments, a process which is set to start on Wednesday at noon.

After the six days, the Senate will open a question-and-answer session, and then discuss whether to extend the trial with witnesses called to testify — as demanded by the Democrats — or if the trial will be swiftly wrapped up in favor of the president.

Tuesday’s debate showed the unity of the Republican bloc, which has a majority in the Upper House, although it only needs one-third of the votes to absolve Trump over charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, pressed by the Democrats in relation to his alleged pressure tactics against Ukraine.

While the Republicans had been seeking a rapid trial from the beginning, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer employed a delay strategy, introducing around a dozen amendments in the rules resolution, with the debate stretching for 13 hours.

The rules were finally approved around 2 am, after the House rejected all the amendments, which sought to subpoena witnesses such as former national security advisor John Bolton and White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, along with documents from the Pentagon and the Department of State.

Only one of the amendments received a favorable Republican vote — from Senator Susan Collins, who has supported fulfilling some of the Democrats’ demands for the trial. The amendment was ultimately rejected.

Tuesday’s debate could be an early indication of a trend that could be repeated throughout the trial, a process which would be steered by Trump’s party and looks set to end in his acquittal, unless a dramatic and improbable change in public support for impeachment forces some Republican senators to switch sides.

The impeachment proceedings are based on allegations that the president abused his power by pressuring Ukraine to investigate former vice president Joe Biden, a possible rival in the 2020 presidential elections, and his son.

The Democratic opposition says it has evidence Trump pressed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to announce a bogus Biden corruption investigation while withholding some $400 million in military aid, and that he obstructed Congress by refusing to release any documents related to — or allow any White House officials to testify on — the matter. EFE-EPA

at/ia/tw

Trump takes a limousine lap before Daytona 500 auto race

UNTV News   •   February 17, 2020

President Donald Trump took a loop around the Daytona 500 racetrack on Sunday (February 16) in the presidential limousine known as “The Beast,” drawing cheers from fans at NASCAR’S most prestigious race.

Ramping up his nationwide re-election effort after his acquittal in the U.S. Senate impeachment trial, Trump served as the grand marshal at the annual National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing event, which takes place in the electoral swing state of Florida.

After his motorcade made its way around part of the track, Trump took a break to take pictures with supporters.

After being driven a full lap in the limo before the race began, Trump delivered the opening line: “Gentlemen, start your engines” at the Daytona International Speedway before a crowd of 100,000.

Previous presidents who attended NASCAR events at the speedway include Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and George W. Bush.

Florida is one of a handful of U.S. states that swing between Democrats and Republicans in presidential elections.

Trump won the state, where he has golf courses and a home that is now considered his primary residence, in his race against Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016. (Reuters)

(Production: Pavithra George)

Trump celebrates impeachment acquittal, lashes out at political foes

UNTV News   •   February 7, 2020

US President Donald Trump

President Donald Trump, facing a bruising re-election campaign and possible further investigations in Congress, celebrated his acquittal on impeachment charges on Thursday (February 6) in a speech that drew on White House pomp to underscore the fact that he remained in office.

After walking down a red carpet to a standing ovation from scores of Republican lawmakers, administration officials and conservative media figures in the White House, Trump re-aired old grievances and accused Democrats of staging a “corrupt” effort to undermine his presidency.

“We went through hell unfairly. Did nothing wrong. I did nothing wrong. I’ve done things wrong in my life, I will admit. Not purposely. But I’ve done things wrong. But this is what the end result is,” he said as he held up a morning newspaper, with a headline reading “Trump acquitted.”

“And there’s nothing from a legal standpoint, this is a political thing. And every time I’d say ‘this is unfair, let’s go to court’, they say ‘sir, you can’t go to court, this is politics’. And we were treated unbelievably unfairly. And you have to understand, we first went through ‘Russia, Russia, Russia’. It was all bullshit. We then went through the Mueller report,” he added.

The Republican-controlled Senate on Wednesday voted to acquit Trump on charges bought by the Democratic-led House of Representatives, only the third time in U.S. history that a president has been impeached.

The acquittal was Trump’s biggest victory yet over his Democratic foes in Congress, who attacked Senate Republicans for refusing to call witnesses or seek new evidence at the trial. (Reuters)

(Production: Mana Rabiee)

US Senate acquits Donald Trump of Impeachment charges

UNTV News   •   February 6, 2020

US President Donald Trump

REUTERS — President Donald Trump was acquitted on Wednesday (February 5) in his U.S. Senate impeachment trial, saved by fellow Republicans who rallied to protect him nine months before he asks voters in a deeply divided America to give him a second White House term.

The businessman-turned-politician, 73, survived only the third presidential impeachment trial in U.S. history – just like the two other impeached presidents – in his turbulent presidency’s darkest chapter. Trump now plunges into an election season that promises to further polarize the country.

Trump was acquitted largely along party lines on two articles of impeachment approved by the Democratic-led House of Representatives on Dec. 18, with the votes falling far short of the two-thirds majority required in the 100-seat Senate to remove him under the U.S. Constitution.

The Senate voted 52-48 to acquit him of abuse of power stemming from his request that Ukraine investigate political rival Joe Biden, a contender for the Democratic nomination to face Trump in the Nov. 3 election. Republican Senator Mitt Romney joined the Democrats in voting to convict. No Democrat voted to acquit.

The Senate then voted 53-47 to acquit him of obstruction of Congress by blocking witnesses and documents sought by the House. A conviction on either count would have elevated Vice President Mike Pence, another Republican, into the presidency. Romney joined the rest of the Republican senators in voting to acquit on the obstruction charge. No Democrat voted to acquit.

On each of the two charges, the senators voted one by one on the Senate floor with U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts presiding.

(Production: Mana Rabiee)

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