Trump rages as impeachment trial opens in USA

Judgment time: Trump is only the third president in US history to face impeachment. © Getty

Will this be the end of Trump’s controversial presidency? The impeachment process moves to the US Senate this week, with high-profile lawyers and politicians set to debate his wrongdoing.

The president of the USA is now officially on trial in the Senate. He has hired a team of legal heavyweights to defend him, including the controversial Alan Dershowitz.

Starting this week, senators will listen to statements made by witnesses, Trump’s defence team and the impeachment managers.

The trial will focus on a conversation Trump had with his Ukrainian counterpart, another ex-TV personality.

On the call, Trump suggested that Ukraine would only receive $391 million (£301m) worth of aid from the US if they investigated Hunter Biden’s dealings in the country. Hunter’s father Joe is is one of the leading opposition candidates to take on Trump in the November election.

By wielding his power as president to manipulate his own chances of being re-elected, critics say that Trump has abused his position and needs to be removed from office.

Trump’s team retaliated by saying that the articles fail to identify any actual crime and instead represent a “dangerous attack” on democracy. They see the impeachment process as a partisan attack, a way for Democrats to remove Trump from office without defeating him in an election.

Could it be the end for Trump?

Not so peachy

It still looks like the president will be acquitted. Democrats are a minority in the Senate but need two-thirds of the votes for the president to be removed from office. It doesn’t look likely.

That said, if more witnesses step forward and damning accusations pile up, then there will come a point where Republicans will be wary of defending Trump. He is a reckless politician who has made a lot of enemies over the past few years. The fact that the trial is moving forwards suggests that the Democrats may yet have something up their sleeves.

You Decide

  1. Is calling up the Ukrainian president and asking a favour really the worst thing that Trump has done since becoming president?

Activities

  1. Try your hand at writing like Trump. Imagine a speech he might deliver to the Senate this week. Use lots of superlatives like worst, best, greatest.

Some People Say...

“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

John Dalberg-Acton (1834-1902), English historian and writer

What do you think?

Q & A

What do we know?
According to polls, Trump’s popularity has remained pretty consistent throughout the impeachment process. The transcript of the call with the Ukrainian president was originally stored on a secret server. Despite the drama surrounding this week’s events, no president in US history has ever been removed from office for impeachment.
What do we not know?
We do not know whether moderate Republicans, like former presidential candidate Mitt Romney, will risk going against their party. There are also several Democratic senators in swing states (areas that could won by either the Democrats or the Republicans) who do not want to appear as being overly partisan (strongly supporting one particular cause) and may not vote to impeach the president.

Word Watch

Alan Dershowitz
Harvard law professor and lawyer, who has previously worked on behalf of OJ Simpson, Jeffrey Epstein and Harvey Weinstein.
Impeachment managers
Seven members of the House of Representatives who will lead the prosecution against Donald Trump.
Counterpart
A person or thing that has the same function as another person or thing in a different place or situation.
Wielding
Holding and using (a weapon or tool).
Office
In this context, his position of power, his role as president.
Partisan
One-sided, in the interests of one party over another.
Acquitted
Cleared of a criminal charge by a verdict of not guilty.

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