Democrats claim 'no President' has ever abused power like Donald Trump

23 January 2020, 20:55

President Donald Trump has not attended the Senate trial
President Donald Trump has not attended the Senate trial. Picture: PA

By Megan White

Democrats declared that "no president" has ever abused power the way Donald Trump did in his Ukraine dealings on their second day of arguments in the impeachment trial.

The House of Representatives' prosecutors are focused on the first article of impeachment, abuse of power, arguing Mr Trump sought a political investigation from Ukraine for his own gain to sway the 2020 election in his favour.

Jerrold Nadler, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, told senators on Thursday: "The president's conduct is wrong. It is illegal. It is dangerous,"

President Trump was impeached last month, with Democrats arguing he abused his office by asking Ukraine to investigate political rival Joe Biden while withholding crucial military aid.

They also charged him with obstructing Congress by refusing to turn over documents or allow officials to testify in the House probe.

Mr Nadler added: "No president has ever used his office to compel a foreign nation to help him cheat in our elections.

"Prior presidents would be shocked to the core by such conduct, and rightly so."

Republicans have defended Trump's actions as appropriate and cast the process as a politically motivated effort to weaken the president in the midst of his re-election campaign.

The top Senate Democrat, Chuck Schumer, acknowledged Thursday that many senators "really don't want to be here".

They are one-third of the way through 24 hours of opening arguments.

Chuck Schumer (left) and Jerrold Nadler
Chuck Schumer (left) and Jerrold Nadler. Picture: PA

Mr Trump blasted the proceedings in a Thursday morning tweet, declaring them the "Most unfair & corrupt hearing in Congressional history!"

Each side has up to three days to present its case.

After the House prosecutors finish, likely Friday, the president's lawyers will have as much as 24 hours.

It is unclear how much time they will actually take, but Mr Trump's team promises not only to defend the president but to take apart the Democrats' case.

The Senate is expected to take only Sunday off and push into next week.