Stage set for impeachment trial

World | AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE 17 Jan 2020

Articles of impeachment charging President Donald Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress were delivered to the Senate yesterday, setting in motion a historic trial that threatens the US leader with removal from office.

Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell announced that the articles would be formally read to the chamber late last night, after which Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts will be sworn in to preside over the trial, which is scheduled to open on Tuesday.

"This is a difficult time for our country, but this is precisely the kind of time for which the framers [of the US constitution] created the Senate," McConnell said.

The two articles of impeachment were delivered in blue folders in a solemn procession by the newly appointed House managers, seven Democrats who will prosecute the case against the president.

"So sad, so tragic for our country, that the actions taken by the president to undermine our national security, to violate his oath of office and to jeopardize the security of our elections, has taken us to this place," Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said as she signed the articles.

"This president will be held accountable," she said, adding: "No one is above the law."

Trump is only the third US president in history to be placed on trial in the Senate.

He is accused of holding up US$391 million (HK$3.04 billion) in aid to Ukraine between July and September to pressure Kiev to investigate former vice president Joe Biden.

The president is also charged with obstruction for holding back witnesses and documents from the House impeachment investigation in defiance of Congressional subpoenas, and was formally impeached on December 18.

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