- The Washington Times - Friday, January 24, 2020

On the last day of presenting their case for removing President Trump from office, House impeachment managers weaved between arguments for the two charges and called on the senators to do their “constitutional duty.”

Impeachment manager Rep. Jason Crow hammered home the argument that Mr. Trump withheld military aid to force Ukraine to investigate political rival Joseph R. Biden — putting self-interest above national security.

“No, the delay wasn’t meaningless,” said Mr. Crow, Colorado Democrat. “Just ask the Ukrainians sitting in trenches right now.”

What’s worse, Mr. Crow argued, was that Mr. Trump undermined U.S. security and foreign policy goals to pressure a foreign power to help him “cheat” in an election by smearing Mr. Biden, a former vice president and top contender for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

The managers, who serve as prosecutors in the Senate trial, next jumped to the second article of impeachment for obstructing Congress’ impeachment investigation.

The two articles of impeachment stemmed from Mr. Trump’s request of the Ukraine president to investigate corruption involving Mr. Biden and his son Hunter, who landed a high-paying job at a Ukrainian energy company, sans expertise in the industry, while his father led Obama administration efforts in that graft-riddled country.

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, New York Democrat, burrowed into the second charge.

“At the heart of article two — obstruction of Congress — is a troubling reality: Donald Trump tried to cheat, he got caught and then he worked hard to cover it up.”

The Democrats’ case includes testimony about a transcript of a July 25 phone call between Mr. Trump and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky was moved to a top-secret server.

The call, in which Mr. Trump asked for “a favor” to investigate the Bidens, was the subject of the whistleblower complaint that initiated the impeachment proceedings.

The impeachment managers also argued that the White House attempted to block the whistleblower complaint.

Next, the prosecution team returned to the first article of impeachment for abuse of power.

“This is Trump first, not America first,” Rep. Adam Schiff, the lead impeachment manager, said of the president’s use of Ukraine.

He said Mr. Trump continues to “threaten the very foundation of our democracy” by seeking foreign interference in the 2020 election.

Mr. Schiff, California Democrat, rolled his eyes in disbelief that Mr. Trump would say his call with the Ukraine president was “perfect.”

“What he is saying is there is nothing wrong with asking a foreign government to do him a personal favor,” he said. “Nothing wrong to extort a country to help him cheat in an election … That conduct is the quintessential abuse of power.”

Erik Bucy, a professor at Texas Tech University and body-language expert, said the House impeachment managers have maintained a measured tone and limited any gesturing during their arguments.

“They are also keen to engage both sides of the aisle and look up fairly often to scan the chamber in an attempt to appeal to both sides. This is a deliberate strategy to win over the Republican votes needed to allow witness testimony to be heard,” he said.

He suspects Mr. Trump’s lawyers will have quite a different approach to their delivery, aiming their arguments toward the Republican side of the chamber.

“Expect body language reminiscent of a drill sergeant attempting to hold his troops in line,” he said.

Mr. Trump’s lawyers will present their defense beginning Saturday and have up to 24 hours to attack the House Democrats’ case, though it’s unlikely they will use all the allotted time.

The defense case will be followed by 16 hours of questions the senators have for either side. After that, the senators will debate whether to entertain more evidence such as additional witness testimony.

The 24 hours of presentations by the House Democrats over three days didn’t win much praise from Republicans, with many of them saying it got very repetitive.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican, said while the impeachment managers have been respectful, their argument is getting tedious, saying it got a bit “mind-numbing.”

“They are over-trying their case,” he told reporters. “I would urge them to not do that because eventually, it gets just hard to follow.”

Sen. Rick Scott, Florida Republican, said none of his colleagues are talking about whether they need to hear from more witnesses yet.

“I have not heard anything new,” Mr. Scott said.

• S.A. Miller can be reached at smiller@washingtontimes.com.

• Alex Swoyer can be reached at aswoyer@washingtontimes.com.

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