Watch Live: Democrats Hold Final Day Of Arguments Before Trump Team's Turn

Watch Live: Democrats Hold Final Day Of Arguments Before Trump Team's Turn

3:02pm Jan 24, 2020
In this image from video, House impeachment manager Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., speaks during the impeachment trial against President Trump in the Senate.
In this image from video, House impeachment manager Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., speaks during the impeachment trial against President Trump in the Senate.
Senate Television via AP

Updated at 2:08 p.m. ET

House Democrats on Friday opened their third and final day of arguments that President Trump, impeached by the House, now should be convicted and removed from office by the Senate.

The president's lawyers have a turn to lay out the case for acquittal this weekend.

Watch Friday's proceedings live here.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., announced that after Friday's proceedings wrap up, the Senate trial will resume Saturday at 10 a.m. ET and remain in session "for several hours" as the president's team begins their defense.

President Trump weighed in against a long Saturday session, tweeting that Saturday "is called Death Valley in TV."

The House passed two articles of impeachment against Trump in December: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Democratic impeachment managers plan to focus on obstruction on Friday, after looking at abuse of power on Thursday.

Democrats contend that President Trump attempted to pressure Ukraine into investigations that would help him in the 2020 election. They also say that Trump obstructed their investigation of the circumstances of that effort, including the temporary withholding of military aid to Ukraine.

Outside the Senate chamber, Republicans and Democrats continued their debate over whether additional witnesses should be called. Arguments were aimed in particular at an audience of four senators who might be persuaded one way or the other.

Republicans have been arguing that hearing from additional witnesses would stretch out the proceedings, particularly if the Trump administration challenges the subpoenas as a violation of executive privilege. That's the doctrine that permits a presidential administration to conceal some of its workings from the public.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. said it could "destroy executive privilege," if Democrats insisted on calling witnesses such as former national security adviser John Bolton or acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney.

Lead House manager Adam Schiff, D-Calif, scoffed at the notion that the Senate should refrain from calling witnesses over such a possibility. Moreover, he argued, executive privilege is to protect legitimate deliberations and can't be used to shield wrongdoing.

"This is not a trial over a speeding ticket or shopping ticket, this is an impeachment trial involving the president of the United States," Schiff told reporters.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. said that if subpoenas were issued by the Senate, "by definition, the subpoenas will be bipartisan and they will be signed by the chief justice of the United States Supreme Court" — implying they would have additional weight and be less likely to be challenged in court.

In Thursday's session, the House managers argued that Trump's behavior was what the nation's founding fathers hoped to guard against.

"That is why this president must be removed from office, especially before he continues his effort to corrupt our next election," said Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y. "Simply stated, impeachment is the Constitution's final answer to a president who mistakes himself for a king."

In winding down Thursday's session, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said there is overwhelming evidence that the president has done what he is charged with and said he posed a "danger to the country."

"OK, he's guilty. Does he really need to be removed?" Schiff rhetorically asked the chamber. Yes, he argued, because Trump would not reliably put the interests of the country before his own.

"You can't trust this president to do what's right for this country. He will do what's right for Donald Trump," Schiff said. "If you find him guilty, you must find that he should be removed."

Trump's legal team is set to begin its own opening arguments on Saturday. Like the House managers, Trump's lawyers have 24 hours over three days to make their case, before a period of questioning by the senators.

The president and his supporters have maintained that Trump had real concerns about corruption in Ukraine, saying the call for probes was not driven by a desire to boost Trump's own political prospects. They say it is Democrats who are seeking political gain by launching an inquiry in the first place.

Republicans have largely stood by Trump, and since they hold a majority in the Senate, Trump is likely to be acquitted of both charges.

Read more about the Senate trial process here.

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