WASHINGTON – House Democrats will focus on the accusation that President Donald Trump obstructed Congress when they resume and complete their opening argument Friday in the Senate trial.
The seven prosecutors, who are called managers, spent Wednesday outlining the two articles against Trump and detailing the evidence they gathered for the accusations of abuse of power and obstruction. They spent Thursday outlining the legal and constitutional reasons that they said the evidence justified the charge of abuse of power.
On Friday, the managers will explain how the law and Constitution apply to the evidence for obstruction. The lead manager, Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said Thursday that the arguments condensed hundreds of hours of depositions and testimony, but that there might be repetition in the presentations as more context is provided.
“We will now show you these facts and many others and how they are interwoven,” Schiff said. “You will see some of these facts and videos therefore in a new context, in a new light, in the light of what else we know and why it compels a finding of guilt and conviction. So there is some method to our madness.”
The third session of up to eight hours will complete the opening argument from House Democrats. Trump’s legal team is expected to begin Saturday up to 24 hours of opening argument spanning three sessions.
“We’re going to respond of course to what the House managers have put forward,” Jay Sekulow, one of Trump’s private lawyers, told reporters Wednesday. “And we’re going to make an affirmative case defending the president.”
Sekulow said he couldn’t predict whether Trump’s defenders would need six hours or 24 hours to make their arguments because House Democrats were still making their case.
“When you’re in a proceeding like this, you have to be flexible, you have to be fluid,” Sekulow said.
Republican senators said they are eager to hear from Trump’s defense team.
“There’s all kinds of allegations that have been thrown up in the air and so they'll have a chance to lay out their timeline, their version of events,” said Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo.
In focusing on abuse of power Thursday, another manager, Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., said Trump could have been impeached just for asking Ukraine to investigate his political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden. But Nadler said Trump went further, withholding $391 million in vital military aid and a White House meeting.