Donald Trump’s impeachment trial begins in earnest in the Senate on Tuesday in a rare use of the constitutional mechanism for ousting a president that has only deepened the polarisation of US voters ahead of presidential elections in November. Democrats have called on the Senate to remove the Republican president from office, describing him as a danger to American democracy and national security. Trump and his lawyers have decried his impeachment, saying he has done nothing wrong and that Democrats are simply trying to stop him from being re-elected.
The televised trial is expected to hear opening arguments in the Republican-controlled Senate this week, and votes could take place as early as Tuesday on the rules governing the trial. This would include deciding whether the Senate should at a later date consider subpoenas for witnesses, such as Trump’s former national security adviser John Bolton.
The chamber’s 100 members must decide whether to convict Trump on charges approved by the Democratic-led House of Representatives on Dec. 18, accusing him of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress arising from his dealings with Ukraine.– Reuters