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US Senate begins another session of Trump impeachment trial


ANI Asia
US Senate on Wednesday (local time) began another session of impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.
The new session kicked off after both sides wrapped up their opening arguments on Tuesday. Now there will be 16 hours for the senators to ask questions. The session will be scheduled for two days -- up to 8 hours each day.
The questions will alternate between Republicans and Democrats and must be directed to either the House managers or the White House defence counsel.
Republican Sens. Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski and Mitt Romney submitted the first question to the President's defence team asking "If President Trump had more than one motive for his alleged conduct, such as the pursuit of personal political advantage, rooting out corruption and the promotion of national interests, how should the Senate consider more than one motive in its assessment of article one?"
Deputy White House counsel Patrick Philbin responded that "the standard" that Democrats have "set for themselves is establishing there is no possible public interest at all for these investigations."
The US President is accused of abusing his power by pressuring Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, who served on the board of a gas company in Ukraine, as Trump withheld USD 391 million in military aid that he later released. The President is also accused of subsequently obstructing a congressional probe into his actions.
The Republican Party holds a 53-47 majority in the chamber and conviction requires a two-thirds majority. This means if all Democrats voted to convict, then 20 Republicans will also have to vote for Trump to be convicted and removed from office.
This is the third time in the country's 244-year history that a US President has been impeached and targeted for removal from office.
Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998 were both impeached by the House but acquitted in Senate trials. Another President, Richard Nixon, resigned in 1974 in the face of certain impeachment in a political corruption scandal.

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First Published: Jan 30 2020 | 1:40 AM IST

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