DemDaily: Obstructing Justice. Trial Days Four and Five

January 26, 2020

House Impeachment Managers on Friday made their closing arguments in the fourth and final day of the prosecution's presentation in impeachment trial of President Donald J. Trump.

Under the organizing resolution approved last Tuesday, each side has up to 24 hours, spread over three days, to argue its case. Further debate and votes on whether to call witnesses are postponed until after the completion of presentations.

Day Four
After walking through the evidence against Trump for Abuse of Power on Thursday. House Managers spent most of Friday methodically presenting the case against the President for Obstruction of Congress.

It was the closing remarks of lead House Manager Adam Schiff (D-CA), however, that will go down in the history books as perhaps the most memorable point in the trial -- at least to-date.

The Senate Impeachment Trial (KTIV)

Schiff's powerful and emotionally compelling speech set off a mass social media explosion, with video going viral, including millions of views on Schiff's twitter feed, along with a flurry of hashtags including #RightMatters, #TruthMatters, #AmericansWantWitnesses and #AdamSchiffHasMyRespect.

Schiff tried to preempt the President's defense team by going through anticipated arguments and disputing  them one by one.

Schiff's reference to a CBS News report that a Trump confident warned GOP Senators, "vote against the president and your head will be on a pike," comparing the President to a monarch, incensed some of the Republicans present.  His comments were part of his appeal for a fair trial and likely aimed at persuading the four moderates needed to vote in favor of calling witnesses.

Indeed, his final remarks were a passionate plea to the consciences of the Republican Senators in the chamber to have "moral courage" to go against their party and remove Trump from office, saying, "He is who he is, You know it's not going to stop... It's not going to stop unless the Congress does something about it."

Schiff quoted Thomas Paine in his pamphlet of 1777, The American Crisis: 'Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must undergo the fatigue of supporting it,' adding, "Is it too much fatigue to call witnesses and have a fair trial? Are the blessings of freedom so meager that we will not endure the fatigue of a real trial, with witnesses and documents?"

"President Lincoln, in his closing message to Congress in December 1862, said this: 'Fellow-citizens, we cannot escape history. We of this Congress and this administration, will be remembered in spite of ourselves. No personal significance, or insignificance, can spare one or another of us. The fiery trial through which we pass, will light us down, in honor or dishonor, to the latest generation.'" -- Adam Schiff

Schiff's Closing Remarks(click to watch!)

Schiff reminded his colleagues how "unforgiving history can be of our conduct,"..."But for a single decision we may be remembered, affecting the course of our country. I believe this may be one of those moments...a moment when our democracy was gravely threatened. Not from without, but from within."

"The founders gave us more than words. They gave us inspiration...and more than us they inspire the rest of the world...from their prison cells in Turkey journalists look to us, from their internment camps in China, they look to us, from their cells in Egypt... from all over the world, they look to us. And increasingly they don't recognize what they see.

It's a terrible tragedy for them, it is a worse tragedy for us. Because there's nowhere else for them to turn. They are not going to turn to Russia...they look to us because we are still the indispensable nation. They look to us because we have a rule of law. They look to us because no one is above that law. and one of the things that separates us ... is a right to a trial. Americans get a fair trial.

So I ask you, I implore you, give America a fair trial. Give America a fair trial. She's worth it."

Day Five
Saturday kicked off the defense presented by President Trump's legal team, led by Trump's personal attorney Jay Sekulow and White House Counsel Pat Cipollone.

In the short two-hour session, which began at 10:00am, they focused on arguing that the charges in the Articles of Impeachment do not amount to impeachable offenses. At no point did they deny any of the actual evidence or acts committed by the President, but painted a picture of conspiracy by the Democrats.

Cipollone said, "They're asking you to remove President Trump from the ballot in an election that's occurring in approximately nine months."

Trump Personal Attorney Jay Sekulow

"Impeachment shouldn't be a shell game...To stop an election, to interfere in an election, and remove the President of the United States from the ballot? Let the people decide for themselves. That's what the founders wanted. That's what we should all want," said Sekulow.

Next Up
The defense will continue Monday, January 27th at 1:00pm ET. As with the House Managers, Trump's lawyers will have 24 hours over three days to make their case.

After the defense rests, Senators will have 16 hours to ask questions in writing. Chief Justice John Roberts will read the questions out loud to the defense or prosecution to answer.

DemList will keep you informed.

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Sources: New York Times, Vox, ABCNews, C-Span

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