Trump′s impeachment team argues he ′did nothing wrong′ | News | DW | 25.01.2020
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Trump's impeachment team argues he 'did nothing wrong'

The US president's defense lawyers have accused Democrats of failing to back claims of abuse of power and obstruction. Democrats have urged Republicans to show "real political courage" and remove Trump.

Watch video 02:11

Trump's lawyers begin defense in impeachment trial

US President Donald Trump's defense team on Saturday argued that he had not committed an impeachable act when he apparently pressured his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, to launch an investigation into political rivals.

White House counsel Pat Cipollone said Democratic House managers, who serve as prosecutors in the Senate trial, did not make their case that Trump abused power and obstructed Congress.

"We don't believe that they have come anywhere close to meeting their burden for what they're asking you to do," Cipollone said. "In fact, we believe when you hear the facts … you will find that the president did absolutely nothing wrong."

Trump is accused of pressuring Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate Democratic political rivals in the US on his behalf and withholding Congress-approved aid to Ukraine pending an announcement of that probe.

Read more: Opinion: Donald Trump's impeachment is not a waste of time

This artist sketch depicts White House counsel Pat Cipollone speaking in the Senate chamber during the impeachment trial against President Donald Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, at the Capitol in Washington

White House counsel Pat Cipollone told US lawmakers that there is no evidence to prove wrongdoing by President Donald Trump

'He will do it again'

Democrats on Friday gave their final arguments for Trump's removal from office, with Representative Adam Schiff urging Republican Senators to show "real political courage."

"If it meets the standard of impeachable conduct, as we have proved, it doesn't matter whether you like him. It doesn't matter whether you dislike him," Schiff said.

"What matters is when he is a danger to the country, because he will do it again. And none of us can have confidence, based on his record, that he will not do it again, because he is telling us every day that he will."

However, Trump is unlikely to be removed from office. Such an act would require a two-third majority in the Republican-controlled Senate. Republican Senators have yet to voice support for such an act.

Read more: Impeachment in the US: How does it work?

Watch video 00:27

Trump could 'permanently alter balance of power'

Trump decries 'hoax'

Trump has repeatedly denied that he sought political favors targeting political rivals from the Ukrainian president.

In a tweet earlier this week, he accused Democrats of staging a hoax targeted at undermining his presidency.

"The Do Nothing Democrats just keep repeating and repeating, over and over again, the same old 'stuff' on the Impeachment Hoax," said Trump. "They ought to go back to work for our great American people!"

Read more: Should Europe adjust to US foreign policy based on favors?

Watch video 07:21

Impeachment: A fraught but vital process?

ls/rc (AP, AFP, Reuters)

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