Trump’s Senate trial revolves around an abuse of power charge from the Democrat-controlled House that he pressured his Ukrainian counterpart to investigate Biden and other political adversaries, in part by withholding $391 million dollars in military aid. The House also impeached Trump for obstructing their investigation into the alleged scheme.
Over three days this week, Democrats laid out a voluminous case against the president, and concluded by calling him an ongoing and “imminent threat” to national security who is likely to continually attempt to corrupt the 2020 election to his benefit. The House’s lead prosecutors, Rep. Adam Schiff, described Trump as a willing vessel for Russian propaganda aimed at hurting the U.S.-Ukraine alliance. And Democrats also sought to preemptively counter many of Trump’s anticipated attack lines.
But now it’s Trump’s turn to push back. His attorneys intend to argue extensively — despite voluminous testimony to the contrary — that repeated calls for Ukraine to investigate Biden reflect a genuine concern about corruption rather than a politically motivated attempt to damage a rival.
They also contend that Biden sought the removal of a Ukrainian prosecutor who was investigating Burisma, an energy company where Biden’s son, Hunter, was serving on the board of directors.
Democrats presented extensive evidence during the Senate trial that the Ukrainian prosecutor Biden and the Obama administration helped remove was an impediment to anti-corruption investigations. Rather, witness testimony collected by the House suggested that Trump seemed fixated on pushing a sham investigation into Biden in order to damage the former vice president’s political prospects headed into the 2020 Democratic nomination fight. Democrats also gathered extensive evidence to show that Trump privately professed no interest in anti-corruption efforts in Ukraine and other countries.
The high-profile effort by Trump’s attorneys to delve into the Bidens is in many ways akin to the outcome Democrats sought to head off when they first began their impeachment investigation.
“What they hope to achieve in the Senate trial is what they couldn’t achieve through their scheme,” Schiff said Friday night. “It’s about completing the object of the scheme through other means — through the means of this trial.”
On Friday, Sekulow said that House prosecutors “opened up the door” for the president’s lawyers to go on offense on Biden since they brought the topic up first — comments that mirror those of Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).