Trump ‘Should Be Removed’ – Adam Schiff

File Photo: US President Donald Trump 

 

Lead House impeachment manager Adam Schiff called dramatically for the Senate to remove President Donald Trump from office Thursday, saying the US leader cannot be trusted to put the country’s interests ahead of his own.

“The American people deserve a president they can count on, to put their interest first,” said Schiff.

His impassioned words capped a long day in which Democrats detailed Trump’s illicit scheme to pressure Ukraine to help his 2020 reelection campaign.

“You know, you can’t trust this president to do what is right for this country. You can trust he will do what’s right for Donald Trump,” Schiff added.

“He’ll do it now. He’s done it before. He’ll do it for the next several months. He’ll do it in the election if he’s allowed to. This is why, if you find him guilty, you must find that he should be removed.”

“Because right matters. And truth matters. Otherwise, we are lost.”

‘It is illegal’

As the 100 senators sat as jurors and millions of Americans watched on television, House impeachment managers mustered scores of videos, internal documents and extensive witness testimony to lay out a strong case that the US leader abused his powers.

Schiff’s prosecution team detailed how Trump flagrantly undertook last year to force Kiev to help him tarnish his possible 2020 reelection rival, former vice president Joe Biden.

“President Trump used the powers of his office to solicit a foreign nation to interfere in our elections for his own personal benefit,” House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerry Nadler told the chamber.

“Since President George Washington took office in 1789, no president has abused his power in this way,” Nadler said.

“The president has repeatedly, flagrantly, violated his oath… The president’s conduct is wrong. It is illegal. And it is dangerous.”

‘Unfair and corrupt’

Over nine hours the Democrats methodically dismantled Republican claims that Trump did nothing wrong.

They left few doubts that Trump’s sole motivation in secretly freezing aid to Ukraine last July was to force Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky to announce one investigation into Biden and a second into an unsupported story that Kiev helped Democrats in the 2016 election.

To puncture a key White House argument that the US constitution requires a specific crime to remove a president, they played old videos in which two of Trump’s closest defenders, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham and storied criminal defense attorney Alan Dershowitz, said that abuse of power itself is a clear impeachable offense.

And they detailed the extensive role of Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani in the scheme to pressure Zelensky, even while US intelligence and diplomatic chiefs disagreed with it.

“Donald Trump chose Rudy Giuliani over his own intelligence agencies. He chose Rudy Giuliani over his own national security advisors… That makes him dangerous to our country,” said Schiff, who leads the House Intelligence Committee.

Uphill battle

Yet, three days into arguments into the historic trial, there were few signs that any of the Republican majority that Trump commands in the Senate would buy into the evidence and turn against him.

“What we heard from the managers yesterday, the day before, it is the same thing, day after day after day,” said Republican Senator John Barrasso.

“We’re hearing the same things over and over,” said Trump attorney Jay Sekulow. “We will be putting on vigorous defense of both facts and rebutting what they’ve said.”

At the White House, Trump unleashed a barrage of tweets attacking the process as “loaded with lies and misrepresentations.”

“Most unfair & corrupt hearing in Congressional history!” he tweeted

Witness issue

Democratic prosecutors will complete their arguments Friday with a focus on the second impeachment charge, obstruction of Congress, before Trump’s legal team holds the floor in his defense for three days.

Democrats are hoping their arguments will at least persuade some Republicans, who hold a 53-47 majority in the Senate, to support their call to issue subpoenas next week for four top current and former Trump aides to testify, and for internal White House records about the Ukraine affair.

But all indications were that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, in coordination with the White House, will seek to stifle witness requests and bring the trial to a close with a vote to acquit Trump by the end of next week.

Both Trump and McConnell said early this week that the White House could claim executive privilege to refuse the subpoenas, forcing a court challenge that could prolong the case well into February.

Historic Trump Impeachment Trial To Begin Today

US President Donald Trump speaks in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC.  AFP

 

President Donald Trump’s historic impeachment trial begins in earnest on Tuesday in the Senate, with Democrats calling for his removal from office and Republicans determined to acquit him — and quickly, if possible.

Four months after the Ukraine scandal exploded and went on to overshadow the end of Trump’s term, and 10 months before Americans go to the polls to decide whether to re-elect him, the 100 members of the Senate will gather at 1 PM (1800 GMT) with chief justice John Roberts presiding over the trial.

The job of these lawmakers, sworn in last week as jurors, is to decide if Trump abused his office and obstructed Congress as charged in two articles of impeachment approved last month by the House of Representatives.

They state that Trump tried to pressure Ukraine into interfering in the 2020 US election to help him win, and then tried to thwart a congressional probe of his behaviour.

It will be only the third time a president has endured an impeachment trial, after Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1999.

Part of the scandal centres on a July 25 telephone call in which Trump pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to announce an investigation of former Vice President Joe Biden, Trump’s potential opponent in the November vote.

Democrats, who control the House of Representatives and led the investigation, accuse Trump of manipulating Ukraine by withholding nearly $400 million in military aid for its war against Russian-backed separatists and a White House meeting for Zelensky until the latter announced a Biden probe.

 ‘Nothing wrong’ 

“The president did nothing wrong,” Trump’s lawyers responded in a 110-page brief submitted to the Senate on Monday.

This echoes the repeated assertions of the 73-year-old real estate magnate that the saga is a political witch hunt and a hoax, and that his phone call with the Ukrainian leader was “perfect.”

In the president’s brief, his 12-man legal team contested the very idea of his impeachment.

They called the two articles of impeachment — approved largely along party lines in the Democratic-controlled House — the product of “a rigged process” and “constitutionally deficient on their face” because they involved no violation of established law.

That team, which has recruited high profile lawyers such as Kenneth Starr, who tried to bring down Clinton over his affair with Monica Lewinsky, said in the brief, “The Senate should reject the Articles of Impeachment and acquit the president immediately.”

 ‘Worst nightmare’ 

“President Trump abused the power of his office to solicit foreign interference in our elections for his own personal political gain, thereby jeopardizing our national security, the integrity of our elections, and our democracy,” the House managers said Saturday in a memorandum.

They said the president’s behaviour “is the Framers’ worst nightmare,” referring to the authors of the US Constitution, and that Trump deserves to be removed from office.

But Trump looks almost certain to be acquitted because of the 53-47 Republican majority in the Senate.

He will be abroad as his trial opens; Trump left late Monday for the economic forum in Davos, Switzerland.

How long the trial will last is up in the air.

The first order of business Tuesday will be to set the rules, such as how long they will hear the arguments of the House managers, or prosecutors; how long they will hear the defence; the time allotted for questions, submitted by the senators but read by Roberts; and whether they will call witnesses or seek other evidence.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell late Monday proposed rules calling for each side to have 24 hours over two days to present their arguments. That makes for long trial days stretching late into the night but is a significantly quicker pace than in Bill Clinton’s impeachment trial in 1999. The chamber will debate and vote on the proposed rules Tuesday.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said McConnell is rushing the trial and also making it harder for witnesses and documents to be presented.

“On something as important as impeachment, Senator McConnell’s resolution is nothing short of a national disgrace,” Schumer said in a statement.

The Democrats want key Trump administration officials to testify, such as acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and former national security adviser John Bolton, in the belief that they know a lot about Trump’s dealings with Ukraine. Bolton has said he is willing to testify if subpoenaed.

The White House has said it expects the trial to be over in two weeks. Clinton’s trial lasted five weeks.

McConnell has said he won’t consider the witness issue until after the arguments and questioning take place, and his majority means he will likely prevail.

AFP

Political Recap: Elections, Impeachments, Protests, Others Dominate 2019

 

The 2019 political year in Nigeria is one that could be simply described as ‘eventful,’ featuring various critical and interesting events in the country.

Highpoints of such events range from elections to court cases, and crisis within political parties, among others.

 

General Elections

In line with the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), political parties, civil society groups, the electorate, and other critical political stakeholders stepped up preparations ahead of what some political actors termed the ‘most important event of the year – the general elections’.

Although the 2019 general elections may have come and gone, the dust they left behind has yet to settle as a result of the mixed reactions that followed. Since the beginning of the year until February 15, Nigerians had prepared and shown their readiness to elect a new set of leaders at various levels until the electoral umpire shifted the date of the elections by one week.

 

This followed a crucial meeting of INEC chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, and the 12 national commissioners of INEC which began on the eve of the initial Election Day and lasted until the early hours of the next day.

Barely five hours to the start of the polls, Professor Yakubu announced at a short press briefing that the Presidential and National Assembly elections had been postponed until February 23, while the Governorship and State Houses of Assembly polls would take place on March 9.

The INEC boss explained that before arriving at the decision, the meeting concluded that going ahead as scheduled was no longer feasible after carefully reviewing the implementation of the logistics and operational plan, as well as the determination to conduct free, fair, and credible elections.

The decision sparked criticism in some quarters while some individuals and groups called for understanding and support for INEC to ensure the process went peacefully. Seven days later, the Presidential and National Assembly elections took place as scheduled.

The presidential election was keenly contested by President Muhammadu Buhari and his major rival and former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, as well as some younger candidates such as Omoyele Sowore, Fela Durotoye, Felix Nicholas, Kingsley Moghalu, and Obadiah Mailafia among several other.

Muhammadu Buhari                                                                                                             Atiku Abubakar

 

Although a total of 73 political parties – including the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) – fielded candidates for the election, some later endorsed Buhari of the APC while others formed an alliance with Atiku to kick the incumbent president out of office.


 

Nigeria Decides

This made the election a major battle between Buhari – the man seeking another four years – and Atiku – the man on a mission to realise his dream of becoming president in about three decades. Four days after the poll was conducted, President Buhari was returned elected for a second term in office.

Announcing the results on February 27, Professor Yakubu said the President polled a total of 15,191,847 to defeat his PDP rival who scored 11,262,978. President Buhari won the election with a wide margin of close to four million votes ahead of Atiku, claiming a total of 19 states while the former vice president won in 17 states and the Federal Capital Territory.

Following the declaration, the President and members of the ruling party celebrated their victory while the PDP accused the APC of rigging the election and vowed to challenge the outcome in court.

 

Meanwhile, Nigerians also elected their representatives at the upper and lower chambers of the National Assembly – Senate and House of Representatives. In the build-up to the poll, the APC suffered a big loss as scores of lawmakers in both chambers defected to the PDP – including the then Senate President Bukola Saraki and former Speaker Yakubu Dogara.

However, a majority of the senators who defected to the PDP lost their seats, including Senator Saraki. This led to the emergence of Senator Ahmed Lawan and Mr Femi Gbajabiamila – both of the APC – as the Senate President and Speaker of the 9th National Assembly.

Having completed their two terms as provided by the law, some former governors won their elections to the Senate. These included Kashim Shettima (Borno), Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun), Ibrahim Gaidam (Yobe), and Tanko Al-Makura (Nasarawa).

Former governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State also joined his colleagues in the Senate following a series of court battles after an electoral official said he declared him winner of the election in Imo West senatorial district. On his part, former Oyo State governor, Abiola Ajimobi, lost his bid to become a senator to Senator Kola Balogun of the PDP.


Power Exchange

Two weeks after Nigerians cast their ballots, the electorate returned to their various polling units to elect leaders at the state level – the Governorship and State Houses of Assembly polls.

Unlike the February 23 polls held across the country, the March 9 elections took place only in 29 states, excluding Edo, Osun, Ekiti, Ondo, Bayelsa, Kogi, and Anambra States.

The election recorded wins and losses in various states as the APC unseated PDP in some states while the PDP took over power from the APC elsewhere. As of March 23, INEC had concluded and announced the winners of the governorship elections in 22 states, while the exercise was suspended in Rivers and declared inconclusive for various reasons in six other states. The affected states included Adamawa, Bauchi, Benue, Plateau, Kano, and Sokoto.

Some electorate wait on the queue to cast their vote in Dass LGA of Bauchi State on March 9, 2019.

 

At the end of the whole process, results and winners were announced for all 29 states where the election took place. A breakdown of the results revealed the APC won in 14 states while the PDP claimed 15 states.

The APC retained power in 12 states but lost five states to the opposition party, including Benue and Sokoto where the governors defected before the elections. On the other hand, the PDP retained power in 10 states but lost Gombe State, as well as Kwara where the third governor defected from the ruling party.

The APC could have won in one more state – Zamfara, but the party ceded all the posts it won in the state to the PDP on the directive of the Supreme Court which held that it did not conduct primaries and therefore, could not have won any election.

Similarly, the party was affected by an internal crisis in Rivers, leading to an order of the apex court which barred the APC from participating in any election in the state.


 

Triumph vs Defeat

While some Governors won their elections into the Senate as members of the 9th National Assembly, former governor of Oyo State, Abiola Ajimobi, was defeated by Senator Kola Balogun of the PDP.

Former governors elected into the Red Chamber comprise new and returning senators. They are Senator Rochas Okorocha (Imo), Senator Tanko Al-Makura, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, Senator Kashim Shettima, and Senator Ibrahim Gaidam, among others.

The conclusion of the general elections paved the way for the kick-off of the 9th National Assembly with the APC reclaiming its leadership from the PDP following the defection of former Senate President Bukola Saraki and erstwhile Speaker of the House of Representatives Yakubu Dogara to the opposition party.

Defection: Saraki, Dogara, 52 Others To Know Fate On May 17
Bukola Saraki                                                                                                                     Yakubu Dogara

 

Saraki and Dogara dumped the APC along with dozens of lawmakers numbering over 45 in the build-up to the general elections, but it wasn’t enough to deny President Buhari a second term in office, as well as the ruling party from retaining the majority in both chambers of the National Assembly.

Rather, Senator Saraki and most of his colleagues in the Senate – except Senator Dino Melaye – and some members of the lower chamber lost their re-election bid in the February 23 poll, although Mr Dogara was returned by members of his constituencies. As a result, Senator Ahmed Lawan and Mr Femi Gbajabiamila were elected as the Senate President and Speaker of the 9th National Assembly respectively.


 

From The Ballot To Court

As it is widely accepted that only the electorate can decide the fate of aspiring leaders through the power of the ballot, that wasn’t the case for some politicians who participated in the election. The people in this category are the aggrieved candidates who proceeded to the Election Petitions Tribunal in various courts to reclaim their mandates purported to have been stolen by the winners in the elections.

Prominent among them are former Vice President Atiku and the PDP, as well as Mr Ambrose Owuru and Hope Democratic Party (HDP) who approached the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal to challenge the re-election of President Buhari in the February 23 poll.

A file photo of proceedings at the Presidential Election Tribunal commences sitting
PHOTOS: Channels TV/Sodiq Adelakun

 

Atiku and the PDP prayed the court to disqualify President Buhari on the grounds that he didn’t possess the requisite academic qualification to contest for the office of the President. They also alleged irregularities, over-voting, use of force, and non-compliance with electoral laws among other claims during the elections.

After months of arguments between the petitioners and defendants, as well as the presentation of witnesses and evidence before the court, the Tribunal dismissed Atiku’s petition on September 11. In a unanimous judgement which lasted almost nine hours, Justice Mohammed Garba who delivered the lead judgement ruled that Buhari was duly elected as President.

He added that the petitioners failed to prove the allegations against the defendants. Other members of the Tribunal agreed with the judgement. They are Justice Peter Olabisi-Ige, Justice Abdul Aboki, Justice Joseph Ikyegh, and Justice Samuel Oseji.

On the other hand, Owuru and HDP claimed that the failure of INEC to conduct the election on February 16 before it was postponed by a week forced his party to conduct a referendum through which Nigerians elected him as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Dismissing the petition in its judgement delivered in July, the Tribunal held that the petition was unknown to the law and lacked constitutional backing, adding that it was an aberration that constituted an abuse of court processes.

Despite the duration of proceedings at the Tribunal, the petitioners in the presidential election were not satisfied with judgement of the court. They, thereafter, took their appeals to the Supreme Court where they challenged the decision of the Tribunal.

Like the lower court, the apex court struck out the suits of Atiku and PDP, as well as Owuru and HDP, and upheld the judgement of the Tribunal affirming President Buhari’s re-election. The Supreme Court’s judgement put an end to issues and disagreements surrounding the 2019 Presidential Election.


 

Mission To Reclaim Mandate

Shortly after elections were concluded, the Governorship and National Assembly Elections Tribunals across the country have been busy attending to litigations triggered by the outcomes of the polls. At the governorship level, the Tribunals affirmed the outcomes of the polls in the states where elections held.

Some of the governorship candidates who lost at the Tribunal further took their cases to the Court of Appeal where they lost again. However, there was a twist in the judgement of the appellate court which sat on the appeal brought by the APC in Oyo State.

The court affirmed the victory of Governor Seyi Makinde and the PDP but validated the appeal of Mr Adebayo Adelabu and the APC. It disagreed with the Tribunal on the grounds that documents submitted were not processed properly while the appellants’ evidence were not evaluated adequately.

Seyi Makinde                                                                                                                     Adebayo Adelabu

 

They noted that if not that the 180-day time limit for the Tribunal had been exhausted, it would have ordered a re-trial. It, therefore, ordered that status quo be maintained, retaining PDP’s Makinde as the elected governor of Oyo State.

Some of the governors who also won at the Tribunal are Nyesom Wike (Rivers), Abdullahi Ganduje (Kano), Aminu Tambuwal (Sokoto), Dapo Abiodun (Ogun), Emeka Ihedioha (Imo), and Samuel Ortom (Benue), among others. Meanwhile, some candidates who lost at the appellate court have challenged the judgements at the Supreme Court.


 

Fight Back To Victory

The aftermath of the elections that returned some members of the 8th National Assembly and brought in new members of the 9th Assembly is one that cannot be allowed to pass by without being reviewed.

Shortly after the February 23 polls were conducted, the has been a war of words and exchange of blames among politicians and political parties, especially between the APC and PDP while others were preparing to go to the Tribunal.

Notable among the states where the courts disagreed with the outcome of the polls are Ekiti, Akwa Ibom, Sokoto, and Kogi. In early November, the Court of Appeal in Kaduna nullified the election of former Senate spokesman, Dayo Adeyeye, as the lawmaker representing Ekiti South senatorial district.

Olujimi Steps Down For Adeyeye In Ekiti PDP Primaries
Senator Olujimi                                                                                                                    Dayo Adeyeye

 

The court ordered INEC to issue a Certificate of Return to former Senate Minority Leader, Senator Biodun Olujimi, of the PDP as the winner of the election. Senator Adeyeye, also an erstwhile spokesman of the PDP, defected from the opposition party to vie for the senatorial seat.

In a similar development, Senator Ibrahim Dambaba – one of the lawmakers who defected from the APC to PDP in July 2018 – returned to the Senate on the order of the Court of Appeal in Sokoto. The court set aside the Tribunal ruling and sacked APC’s Abubakar Shehu-Tambuwal as the senator representing Sokoto South district.

In Akwa Ibom, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Goodswill Akpabio, is likely to return to the Senate, provided he wins a rerun. Senator Akpabio’s hopes were rekindled by the Court of Appeal in Calabar which ordered a re-run election in Essien Udim, the local government where the minister who contested on the APC platform lost to Senator Christopher Ekpenyong of the PDP.

Of all these cases, the election in Kogi West district appeared to be the poll that caught Nigerian’s attention the most. Senator Smart Adeyemi of the APC returned to the Senate in December following a rerun election conducted by INEC on the order of the Court of Appeal in Abuja.

Kogi West: Smart Adeyemi Is 'My Political Wife' – Melaye
Dino Melaye                                                                                                                           Smart Adeyemi

 

The Tribunal had sacked Senator Melaye but he went to the appellate court to seek justice. The PDP candidate, however, lost his appeal in October as the court held that he could not prove his allegations and consequently ordered a rerun within 90 days.

In line with the court order, INEC fixed November 16 for the election – the same day the governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa States took place.

Kogi State Governor Yayaha Bello of the APC defeated his PDP rival, Musa Wada, to seal a second term in office while APC’s David Lyon also beat his PDP opponent, Duoye Diri, to win the governorship election in Bayelsa. The PDP candidates have vowed to challenge the results in court.

 

Quest For Power

In the face of the various developments that accompanied the 2019 general elections, the marks left behind have yet to disappear in some states. There have been some power struggles within political parties in some states such as Edo, Kogi, and Taraba among others.

The crisis in the Edo chapter of the APC is one that has continued to linger for months despite the effort of some party leaders. There seems to be a dispute between the APC National leader and his successor – Governor Godwin Obaseki over the proclamation of the Edo State House of Assembly among other issues.

While the party chairman and the governor shook hands and laughed together in July apparently to dismiss the report of disagreement between them, an attack on the governor’s convoy in November while visiting his predecessor deepened the crisis, leading to the exchange of blames between both camps.

Oshiomhole And Obaseki Shake Hands, Laugh Together
L-R: Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State; Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari; Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State; and APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole.

 

The dispute took a new twist when a faction of the APC in the state suspended the national chairman while another group asked the party’s national leadership to expel the governor from the party.

While the crisis was ongoing, Governor Obaseki’s PDP rival in the September 2016 election, Osagie Ize-Iyamu, defected to the ruling party. Away from Edo, the Kogi State chapter of the APC also had its share of the piece following a prolonged disagreement between Governor Bello and his former deputy, Mr Simon Achuba.

Achuba was impeached by the State House of Assembly in October following the consideration of a report of the committee set up by the State Chief Judge, Justice Nasir Ajana, to investigate an allegation of gross misconduct against him.

A file photo of former Kogi State Deputy Governor, Simon Achuba.

 

Some lawmakers were also impeached while others resigned in the course of the year. In June, Mr Abel Diah was re-elected as Speaker of the Taraba State House of Assembly but the reign only lasted for a while. His deputy, Mohammed Gwampo, was impeached after in October while Diah resigned barely two months later.

This led to the emergence of Mr Joseph Kunini and Mr Hammanadama Abdullahi as Speaker and Deputy Speaker respectively.

Elsewhere, Mr Isah Idris was impeached as the Speaker of Jigawa State House of Assembly while Ugonna Ozuruigbo resigned as the Deputy Speaker of Imo State House of Assembly, just as members of the Gombe State House of Assembly impeached Shaiubu Haruna as their Deputy Speaker.

 

Revolution Call Misinterpreted?

Having summarised the 365 days of the year in this short piece, the review would be incomplete without the prosecution of the convener of #RevolutionNow movement, Mr Omoyele Sowore, by the Nigerian government.

Trouble started for Sowore on August 3 after he was picked up by operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) in Lagos. Sowore was arrested after called for revolution protests across the country. The arrest of the activist was not enough to stop the protests from taking place in Lagos and some parts of the country on August 5 as scheduled.

Convener of #RevolutionNow Protest, Mr Omoyele Sowore, at the Federal High Court in Abuja on September 30, 2019. Photo: Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun.

 

However, protesters met a strong resistance from security forces already stationed in the Surulere area of Lagos where the demonstration was billed to take place. Several protesters were arrested in the process, including a journalist with online news platform, Sahara Reporters.

Meanwhile, the DSS accused Sowore – the presidential candidate of the African Action Congress in the February poll – of planning to topple the Muhammadu Buhari government through the protests. But the activist denied the coup allegations, insisting that he only mobilised Nigerians to protest against bad governance and other vices in the country.

In September, the government filed seven counts of conspiracy to commit treasonable felony and money laundering charges against Sowore and his co-defendant, Olawale Bakare, a day before the detention order of the Federal High Court in Abuja permitting the DSS to detain him for 45 days expired on September 21.

Convener of #RevolutionNow Protest, Mr Omoyele Sowore, at the Federal High Court in Abuja on September 30, 2019. Photo: Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun.

 

Temple Of Justice Desecrated?

The duo pleaded not guilty to the charges and were later granted bail in the sum of N150 million but not without stringent conditions. Despite two orders of the court directing their release, Sowore and Bakare were held by the DSS until the evening December 5 while the Service insisted that it did not disobey the court.

Barely 24 hours later, a drama played out at the Federal High Court in Abuja as some DSS operatives stormed the court in an attempt to rearrest Sowore and perhaps Bakare.

The move was thwarted by Sowore’s supporters and his lawyer, Mr Femi Falana, who condemned the action in its entirety. After the atmosphere was a bit calm, Falana drove his client to the DSS of in the nation’s capital where he was rearrested and detained.

 

The action of the security operatives was described as ‘desecration of the temple of justice’ by some Nigerians, including prominent legal practitioners in the country, although the DSS denied invasion of the court by its personnel.

Reacting to the incident, the Presidency, the Senate, as well as the House of Representatives said they had commenced an investigation into the court invasion but the outcomes have yet to be made public.

These, among many other happenings such as the budget presentation by the President, the first commemoration of June 12 as Democracy Day, the criticism of President Buhari’s media aide – Garba Shehu – by Mrs Aisha Buhari, the Social Media Bill, the Finance Bill, and the controversy surrounding the purported third term agenda of the President, are the major events in the 2019 political year.

Trump’s Impeachment Trial Adjourned Till Tuesday

Chief Justice of The U.S. Supreme Court John Roberts (R) is escorted by Senate Sargent at Arms, Michael C. Stenger after leaving the Senate Chamber at the U.S. Capitol, on January 16, 2020, in Washington, DC. Yesterday the House formally transmitted the Articles of Impeachment against U.S. President Donald Trump to the Senate for the trial. Mark Wilson/Getty Images/AFP

 

Members of the US Senate were sworn in on Thursday to serve as jurors at the historic impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.

US Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, who will preside over the trial, administered the oath to the senators who will decide whether the 45th president should be removed from office.

“Do you solemnly swear that in all things appertaining to the trial of the impeachment of Donald John Trump, President of the United States, now pending, you will do impartial justice according to the Constitution and the laws, so help you God,” Roberts said.

Senators in the chamber responded: “I do.” They then individually signed a book affirming their oath.

Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican Senate majority leader, then adjourned the proceedings and said the trial would resume at 1:00 pm (1800 GMT) on Tuesday.

Earlier on Thursday, Adam Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee who will serve as lead prosecutor for the trial, read out the two articles of impeachment accusing Trump of “high crimes and misdemeanours.”

The Democratic-controlled House, in an overwhelmingly partisan vote, impeached Trump on December 18 for abuse of power in his dealings with Ukraine and for obstruction of Congress.

Impeachment rules require a two-thirds Senate majority to convict and remove a president and Trump’s acquittal is widely expected in the Republican-dominated Senate.

AFP

Trump Impeachment Trial Begins In US Senate

A file photo of US President, Donald Trump. AFP Photo.

 

Amid a solemn silence, articles of impeachment against Donald Trump were read aloud on the Senate floor on Thursday as the bitterly divided chamber began a historic trial of the US president for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

Senate Sergeant of Arms Michael Stenger opened just the third impeachment trial of a US president in history with a warning to the 100 senators.

“Hear ye, hear ye, hear ye,” Stenger said after the seven members of the House of Representatives who will serve as prosecutors gathered in the well of the Senate chamber.

“All persons are commanded to keep silent, on pain of imprisonment, while the House of Representatives is exhibiting to the Senate of the United States, articles of impeachment against Donald John Trump, President of the United States,” the sergeant at arms said.

Adam Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee who will serve as lead prosecutor for the trial, then read out the two articles of impeachment passed by the House on December 18.

“I will now read the articles of impeachment,” Schiff said, “impeaching Donald John Trump, President of the United States, for high crimes and misdemeanors.”

US Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts is to be sworn in at 2:00 pm (1900 GMT) to preside over the trial.

Roberts, 64, who was appointed to the nation’s top court by president George W. Bush, will then deliver an oath to the 100 senators who will swear to administer “impartial justice.”

The proceedings will then adjourn and the trial will get underway “in earnest” on Tuesday, according to Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell.

Impeachment rules require a two-thirds Senate majority to convict and remove a president and Trump’s acquittal is widely expected in the Republican-dominated Senate.

 ‘The Senate’s time is at hand’ 

Trump is accused of abuse of power for withholding military aid to Ukraine and a White House meeting for the country’s president in exchange for an investigation into his potential presidential election rival Democrat Joe Biden.

The Government Accountability Office concluded in a report released Thursday that the White House violated federal law by putting a hold on the congressionally-approved funds for Ukraine.

“Faithful execution of the law does not permit the President to substitute his own policy priorities for those that Congress has enacted into law,” according to the GAO, a congressional watchdog.

The second article of impeachment — for obstruction of Congress — relates to Trump’s refusal to provide witnesses and documents to House impeachment investigators in defiance of congressional subpoenas.

McConnell has been extremely critical of Trump’s impeachment by the Democratic-controlled House and pledged on Thursday that things would be different in the Senate.

“It was a transparently partisan performance from beginning to end,” McConnell said. “But it’s not what this process will be going forward.

“This chamber exists precisely so that we can look past the daily drama,” the Republican senator from Kentucky said. “The House’s hour is over. The Senate’s time is at hand.”

The two articles of impeachment were delivered to the Senate on Wednesday in a solemn procession by the seven House Democrats who will prosecute the case against the 45th US president.

“So sad, so tragic for our country, that the actions taken by the president to undermine our national security, to violate his oath of office and to jeopardize the security of our elections, has taken us to this place,” Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said as she signed the articles.

“This president will be held accountable,” she said. “No one is above the law.”

Pelosi held back on delivering the articles to the Senate as she pressured McConnell to agree to subpoena the witnesses and documents that the White House blocked from the House probe.

McConnell has refused to commit, saying the issue will only be decided after the trial’s opening arguments and questioning.

 ‘Con Job’ 

A Trump administration official told reporters they expect the trial to last no longer than two weeks, suggesting McConnell could use his 53-47 Republican majority to stifle calls for witnesses and quickly take the charges to a vote.

Trump ridiculed the investigation and trial on Wednesday, as he has for months.

“Here we go again, another Con Job by the Do Nothing Democrats,” he wrote on Twitter.

Democrats released documents this week that showed Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani worked with Ukrainian-born American Lev Parnas to pressure Kiev to investigate Biden.

They also showed the two, working with Ukrainian officials, trying to force out the US ambassador to the country, Marie Yovanovitch, eventually removed by Trump.

In a televised interview Wednesday, Parnas told MSNBC that “President Trump knew exactly what was going on.”

“He was aware of all of my movements. I wouldn’t do anything without the consent of Rudy Giuliani or the president,” Parnas said.

Aside from Schiff the prosecution team will include Judiciary Committee chair Jerry Nadler; House Democratic Caucus chair Hakeem Jeffries; Zoe Lofgren, a veteran of two previous impeachment investigations; and three others.

US Senate Prepares To Set Trump Trial In Motion

 

 

 

WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 15: The seven House impeachment managers, including House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY), Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) and Rep. Val Demings (D-FL) leave the Senate chamber of the U.S. Capitol.

 

Articles of impeachment charging President Donald Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress will be formally read to the Senate Thursday, setting in motion a historic trial that threatens the US leader with removal from office.

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts will then be sworn in to preside over the trial and senators sworn in as jurors, as preparations get underway for an impeachment trial that will open on Tuesday, January 21.

Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell said that the articles would be formally read to the chamber at noon (1700 GMT), in an announcement following their delivery to the Senate Wednesday.

“This is a difficult time for our country, but this is precisely the kind of time for which the framers created the Senate,” McConnell said, referring to the authors of the US Constitution.

“I’m confident that this body can rise above short-termism and factional fever and serve the long-term best interests of our nation. We can do this, and we must.”

The two articles of impeachment — one for abuse of power and the other for obstructing the House investigation — were delivered in blue folders in a solemn procession by the newly appointed House managers, seven Democrats who will prosecute the case against the president.

“So sad, so tragic for our country, that the actions taken by the president to undermine our national security, to violate his oath of office and to jeopardize the security of our elections, has taken us to this place,” Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said as she signed the articles.

“This president will be held accountable,” she said. “No one is above the law.”

The solemn formalities underscored the grimness of the occasion, Trump becoming only the third US president in history to be placed on trial in the Senate.

“We feel we are carrying out the will of the framers of our constitution, and that’s a pretty serious load,” said Adam Schiff, the Democratic lawmaker tapped to lead the prosecution team.

– ‘Two weeks’ –

Trump is accused of secretly holding up $391 million in aid to Ukraine between July and September to pressure Kiev to investigate former vice president Joe Biden, the Democratic frontrunner in this year’s White House race.

The president is also charged with obstruction for holding back witnesses and documents from the House impeachment investigation in defiance of Congressional subpoenas.

He was formally impeached on December 18.

But Pelosi held back on delivering the articles to the Senate as she pressured McConnell to agree to subpoena the witnesses and documents that the White House blocked from the House probe.

McConnell has refused to commit, saying the issue will only be decided after the trial’s opening arguments and questioning, which could take two weeks.

A Trump administration official told reporters Wednesday that they expect the trial to last no longer than two weeks, suggesting McConnell could use his 53-47 Republican majority in the Senate to stifle calls for witnesses and quickly take the charges to a vote.

“I think it’s extraordinarily unlikely it will be going beyond two weeks,” the official said, on condition of anonymity.

With impeachment rules requiring a two-thirds super-majority to convict and remove a president, Trump’s acquittal is widely expected.

Earlier Wednesday Trump ridiculed the investigation and trial, as he has for months.

“Here we go again, another Con Job by the Do Nothing Democrats,” he wrote on Twitter.

On Tuesday Democrats released newly acquired files that showed Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani working with Ukrainian-born American Lev Parnas early last year to pressure Kiev to investigate Biden.

They also showed the two, working with Ukrainian officials, trying to force out the US ambassador to the country, Marie Yovanovitch, eventually removed by Trump.

In a televised interview that aired Wednesday, Parnas told MSNBC that “President Trump knew exactly what was going on.”

“He was aware of all of my movements. I wouldn’t do anything without the consent of Rudy Giuliani or the president.”

– Grave task –

Underscoring the high level of politics surrounding the trial, Pelosi was immediately attacked over the ceremony to sign the articles, in which she used multiple pens to distribute to key lawmakers as souvenirs of the occasion.

House Republican Liz Cheney attacked Pelosi and Democrats for being “giddy with excitement” about the signing and “making a mockery of their duty to the Constitution.”

Aside from Schiff, the House Intelligence Committee Chairman, the prosecution team will include Judiciary Committee Chair Jerry Nadler; House Democratic Caucus Chair Hakeem Jeffries; Zoe Lofgren, a veteran of two previous impeachment investigations; and three others.

Former federal prosecutor Elie Honig said the lawmakers chosen stood out for their backgrounds in the US legal system, several of them being former federal attorneys.

The Democrats “signal they intend to do this like a criminal trial and not like a political show,” Honig said.

AFP

Trump’s Impeachment Articles Heading For US Senate

Senate Majority Leader Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) listens while US President Donald Trump speaks to reporters before a meeting with Senate Republicans on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.  AFP

 

The House of Representatives is expected to transmit articles of impeachment against Donald Trump to the Senate Wednesday, setting the stage for a trial next week that will decide whether the 45th US president is forced from office.

After a weeks-long standoff over rules and witnesses, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced Tuesday that what will be only the third presidential impeachment trial was now ready to move forward.

Pelosi is expected to sign the articles of impeachment at around 5:00 pm (2200 GMT) before they are then ceremoniously transferred from the House and travel through the US capitol’s main hallways before being delivered to the Secretary of the Senate.

That ceremony will follow an announcement by Pelosi on which Democratic lawmakers will lead the prosecution case against Trump in the Senate, expected to begin next Tuesday.

Trump was impeached in December by the Democrat-controlled House on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

But his conviction in the Senate is highly unlikely as the president’s Republican Party has a 53-47 majority. A two-thirds majority to approve his guilt is needed if he is to be removed from office at the end of a trial expected to last two weeks.

Although the trial itself is unlikely to start until next week, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts could be sworn in to preside over the process on either Thursday or Friday.

Trump has consistently painted the charges against him as part of a witch-hunt and again took to Twitter on Tuesday evening to decry his impeachment in the House as “the most lopsided & unfair basement hearing in the history of Congress!”

“While we’re creating jobs and killing terrorists, Democrats in Congress are wasting America’s time with demented hoaxes and crazy witch hunts,” he told supporters at a rally in Winconsin.

At times, he has called the whole process to be stopped in its tracks while on other occasions he has apparently relished the prospect of turning the tables against his tormentors in a chamber where his supporters are in the majority.

McConnell pushed back on Tuesday against any suggestions that he would try and prevent the trial from going ahead.

“There’s little or no sentiment for a motion to dismiss. We have an obligation to listen to the arguments,” he added.

Pelosi meanwhile called for a fair trial and demanded the Senate subpoena witnesses and documents from the White House that will be crucial in the trial.

“The American people deserve the truth, and the Constitution demands a trial … The president and the senators will be held accountable,” she added.

Pelosi attacked suggestions by Trump and some of his supporters that the Senate, as soon as the trial opens, vote to dismiss the charges. That would only require a majority vote.

“A dismissal is a cover-up,” she charged.

Trump was impeached on December 18 when the House voted to formally charge him with abusing his power by illicitly seeking help from Ukraine for his reelection campaign.

He is accused of holding up aid to Ukraine to pressure Kiev to investigate former vice president Joe Biden, the frontrunner in the race for the Democratic party’s 2020 presidential nomination.

Trump is also charged with obstruction for holding back witnesses and documents from the House impeachment investigation in defiance of Congressional subpoenas.

 Subpoena push 

The White House is steeling itself for a trial that could present damaging evidence against the US leader on national television.

Pelosi had delayed delivering the articles of impeachment to pressure the Senate to agree to subpoena witnesses with direct knowledge of Trump’s Ukraine actions, including his chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and former national security advisor John Bolton.

McConnell said that, as with the impeachment trial of president Bill Clinton in 1999, the witness issue will only be considered after the 100 senators — the jurors in the trial — hear the prosecution and defense arguments.

AFP

Trump’s Impeachment Trial Looms As US Senate Resumes

Senate Majority Leader Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) listens while US President Donald Trump speaks to reporters before a meeting with Senate Republicans on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.  Brendan Smialowski / AFP

 

US lawmakers return to Washington Friday with President Donald Trump’s upcoming impeachment trial looming over the first Senate session of 2020, but congressional leaders are locked in stalemate over how to proceed.

As Congress braces for a frenetic January, newly uncovered evidence could bolster Democrats’ demands for testimony from key witnesses with firsthand knowledge of Trump’s Ukraine pressure scheme at the heart of the impeachment scandal.

A series of emails published Thursday signal that the order to maintain a freeze on military aid to Ukraine came directly from Trump, and reveal that the Pentagon raised serious concerns about the legality of the directive.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has so far refused to transmit the two articles of impeachment against Trump — abuse of power and obstruction of Congress — to the Senate until the chamber agrees on trial parameters that she considers fair.

No progress was made over the holiday break as to the rules of the trial, after Trump last month became only the third US president ever impeached by the House of Representatives.

Senate Democrats want to hear from key witnesses who refused to testify during the House investigation, and obtain documents denied to the impeachment probe.

Republicans have balked, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell admitting last month that he was working in “total coordination” with the White House on how to conduct the trial.

Trump stands accused of leveraging a highly sought White House meeting and $391 in military aid to Ukraine, which Kiev desperately needed to deter Russian aggression, in exchange for investigations into Democrats including his possible 2020 election rival Joe Biden.

The White House has rejected that narrative.

But on the eve of the Senate re-convening, unredacted emails published by a national security site show that a White House official told the Pentagon that the order to hold the Ukraine aid came from the president himself.

According to Just Security, an August 30 email sent by Michael Duffey, associate director of national security programs at the Office of Management and Budget, to the Pentagon’s comptroller said the aid freeze would continue at Trump’s direction, despite mounting legal worry within the Defense Department.

“Clear direction from POTUS to continue to hold,” Duffey wrote in the email.

The unredacted message was one of several not turned over to House investigators conducting the impeachment inquiry, Just Security reported.

On Thursday, top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer said Duffey’s email “further implicates” Trump and compromises McConnell’s push to have a trial without documents and witnesses as sought by Democrats.

Schumer said it was imperative that Duffey and other key figures testify, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney.

Pelosi also weighed in. “Trump engaged in unprecedented, total obstruction of Congress, hiding these emails, all other documents, and his top aides from the American people,” she tweeted.

“Why won’t Trump & McConnell allow a fair trial?”

Trump on Thursday repeated his claim that the impeachment effort was a “partisan witch hunt” that has fuelled national divisions.

AFP

Trump Faces Firestorm After Identifying Alleged Whistleblower

US President Donald Trump gestures during a working lunch at the NATO summit at the Grove hotel in Watford, northeast of London on December 4, 2019.
Nicholas Kamm / AFP

 

Donald Trump faced calls from his own party to show more restraint on Twitter amid a storm of outrage Sunday over the president revealing the name of a man widely thought to be the whistleblower who triggered his impeachment.

Criticism has been growing since Trump retweeted an attack that included the name of the reported CIA staffer at the heart of the Ukraine scandal — an act that could violate the whistleblower’s guaranteed anonymity under the law.

“If the president would tweet a little bit less, it wouldn’t cause brain damage. But the president does not have to take my advice, nor do I expect him to,” Republican Senator John Kennedy, a key Trump ally, told “Fox News Sunday.”

Trump is ending 2019 as the third president in US history to be impeached after pressuring Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden, a rival in his 2020 reelection bid.

The historic rebuke by the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives for abuse of office and obstruction of Congress is unlikely to pass the Republican-controlled Senate in a trial expected to begin in January.

But Trump, who is reportedly eager to celebrate his acquittal, has appeared increasingly frustrated that no date has been set for the trial amid a partisan standoff over its rules.

The president spent much of Friday amplifying pro-Trump and anti-Democrat tweets from suspicious-looking Twitter accounts at the start of what would become a weekend-long rant against the impeachment process.

The incendiary whistleblower retweet was no longer visible in the president’s timeline by Saturday morning, although it was not clear who had removed it.

Political action group The Democratic Coalition tweeted Sunday that “while Trump has repeatedly backed efforts to unmask the whistleblower, his retweet marks the first time he has directly sent the alleged name to his 68 million followers.”

‘Beyond the Pale’

Noah Bookbinder, who heads Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), posted that “the president using his power and position to expose and implicitly threaten the Ukraine whistleblower is — like so much else he has done — utterly beyond the pale.”

House Republican whip Steve Scalise attempted a defense of Trump’s repeated demands for a Senate appearance from the whistleblower — purportedly an intelligence analyst who said Trump linked US aid to Ukraine to his demand for the Biden investigation.

“Look, the whistleblower should have testified a long time ago,” Scalise told Fox.

Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is holding on to the articles of impeachment that the House passed on December 18 — meaning no Senate trial can begin.

She has berated Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell — who will take an oath of impartiality as a juror in the trial — for publicly acknowledging his “total coordination” with the White House.

Democrats have also angrily berated the Republicans’ apparent strategy of allowing no live witnesses or new documentary evidence at the trial.

Democrats want to hear testimony from several key past or present administration figures — including former national security advisor John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo — who refused to testify to the House after Trump told them not to cooperate.

Republicans, in turn, want to hear from the whistleblower as well as former Vice President Biden and his son Hunter as they pursue a widely discredited claim that the elder Biden, while in office, sought to protect his son from a corruption inquiry in Ukraine.

“The Senate will have a fair trial and you’ll see an acquittal,” Scalise told Fox.

A prominent Democratic senator, Chris Van Hollen, on Sunday rejected speculation about an extended impeachment standoff.

Referring to Pelosi, he told ABC, “I think she’s been very clear there will be a trial. And so, yes, she will be sending over the articles of impeachment.”

But Van Hollen, who heads the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, warned that any Senate trial that barred both sides from calling witnesses or providing new documents would amount to a “sham” and a “rigged trial.”

Trump Slams Magazine Calling For His Removal

US President Donald Trump gestures as he speaks to the press on the South Lawn of the White House before departing in Washington, DC on August 9, 2019. Nicholas Kamm / AFP

 

US President Donald Trump lashed out on Friday at a leading evangelical Christian publication that called him “morally lost and confused” and said he should be removed from office.

Trump, in a series of tweets, accused Christianity Today magazine of being “very far left” and claimed he had done more for evangelicals than other presidents.

“No President has done more for the Evangelical community, and it’s not even close,” Trump said.

He said Christianity Today “would rather have a Radical Left nonbeliever, who wants to take your religion & your guns, than Donald Trump as your President.”

In an editorial on Thursday, Christianity Today said that while it generally steers clear of politics “we do feel it necessary from time to time to make our own opinions on political matters clear.”

“The facts in this instance are unambiguous,” it said.

“The president of the United States attempted to use his political power to coerce a foreign leader to harass and discredit one of the president’s political opponents,” the magazine said.

“That is not only a violation of the Constitution; more importantly, it is profoundly immoral.”

Christianity Today was founded by Billy Graham, a prominent Christian evangelist who died last year, but the Graham family is no longer associated with the publication.

Franklin Graham, Billy Graham’s son, is also an influential Christian evangelical leader and a staunch Trump supporter. His ministry publishes its own magazine, Decision.

Christianity Today, which has a circulation of around 130,000, said Trump had “dumbed down the idea of morality in his administration.”

‘Broken character’ 

“He himself has admitted to immoral actions in business and his relationship with women, about which he remains proud,” it added.

“His Twitter feed alone — with its habitual string of mischaracterizations, lies, and slanders — is a near-perfect example of a human being who is morally lost and confused.”

Christianity Today said the congressional hearings that led to Trump’s impeachment by the House of Representatives on Wednesday “have illuminated the president’s moral deficiencies for all to see.”

“Trump’s evangelical supporters have pointed to his Supreme Court nominees, his defence of religious liberty, and his stewardship of the economy, among other things, as achievements that justify their support of the president,” it said.

“We believe the impeachment hearings have made it absolutely clear… that President Trump has abused his authority for personal gain and betrayed his constitutional oath.”

“Can we say with a straight face that abortion is a great evil that cannot be tolerated and, with the same straight face, says that the bent and broken character of our nation’s leader doesn’t really matter in the end?” the magazine asked.

“Whether Mr Trump should be removed from office by the Senate or by popular vote next election — that is a matter of prudential judgment,” it said.

“That he should be removed, we believe, is not a matter of partisan loyalties but loyalty to the Creator of the Ten Commandments.”

Trump enjoys solid support among white evangelical Christians although a Fox News poll in October found that those backing him had slipped from 81 per cent in the 2016 election to around 70 per cent now.

The Impeachment Charges Against US President Donald Trump

(FILES) In this file photo taken on March 26, 2019 Senate Majority Leader Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) listens while US President Donald Trump speaks to reporters before a meeting with Senate Republicans on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. A majority of the US House of Representatives voted on December 18, 2019, to impeach US President Donald Trump for abuse of power.
Brendan Smialowski / AFP

 

In 1,414 words, the articles of impeachment presented to the House of Representatives Wednesday lay out two charges against President Donald Trump.

Here are the key paragraphs: 

– Article I: Abuse of Power

“Using the powers of his high office, President Trump solicited the interference of a foreign government, Ukraine, in the 2020 United States Presidential election.”

“He did so through a scheme or course of conduct that included soliciting the Government of Ukraine to publicly announce investigations that would benefit his reelection, harm the election prospects of a political opponent, and influence the 2020 United States Presidential election to his advantage.”

“President Trump also sought to pressure the Government of Ukraine to take these steps by conditioning official United States Government acts of significant value to Ukraine on its public announcement of the investigations.”

“President Trump engaged in this scheme or course of conduct for corrupt purposes in pursuit of personal political benefit. In so doing, President Trump used the powers of the Presidency in a manner that compromised the national security of the United States and undermined the integrity of the United States democratic process.”

READ ALSO: Trump Becomes Third US President To Be Impeached

– Article II: Obstruction of Congress

“As part of this impeachment inquiry, the Committees undertaking the investigation served subpoenas seeking documents and testimony deemed vital to the inquiry from various Executive Branch agencies and offices, and current and former officials.”

“In response, without lawful cause or excuse, President Trump directed Executive Branch agencies, offices, and officials not to comply with those subpoenas. President Trump thus interposed the powers of the Presidency against the lawful subpoenas of the House of Representatives, and assumed to himself functions and judgments necessary to the exercise of the ‘sole Power of Impeachment’ vested by the Constitution in the House of Representatives.”

“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.'”

“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.”

AFP

Trump’s Impeachment Is ‘Internal US Issue’, Says Ukraine

 

Ukraine on Thursday brushed off the impeachment of Donald Trump as a US “internal issue”, despite the process being triggered by a telephone conversation between the American leader and his Ukrainian counterpart.

Trump was impeached on Wednesday by the House of Representatives for abuse of power over the July conversation with President Volodymyr Zelensky.

“Ukraine does not interfere in the internal affairs of any state,” Zelensky’s spokeswoman Yuliya Mendel told AFP.

“The United States remains a strategic partner for us, and we are pleased to strengthen our relations by expanding cooperation in various fields,” she said.

In the conversation, Trump pressured Zelensky to investigate his potential White House challenger in 2020, the veteran Democrat Joe Biden.

Despite being embroiled in the controversy, Ukraine is seeking to preserve the bipartisan support from the United States which is crucial in its protracted conflict with Russian-backed separatists in the east of the country.

Earlier this month, Zelensky denied a quid pro quo with Trump when the US president held back promised military aid for Ukraine allegedly until the Biden case was investigated.

Trump will now stand trial in the Senate, where his Republican Party holds a solid majority and is expected to exonerate him.