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Impeachment Day 3: Trump Puts 'Nixon to Shame'

'This conduct is Donald Trump first'
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 23, 2020 12:00 PM CST
Updated Jan 23, 2020 3:40 PM CST

(Newser) – Day 3 of President Trump's impeachment trial is underway, and Democratic impeachment managers plan to focus much of the day's arguments on the abuse-of-power allegation against the president, reports the Hill. "The Constitution is not a suicide pact," said one of those managers, Rep. Jerry Nadler. It "does not leave us stuck with presidents who abuse their power in unforeseen ways that threaten our security and democracy." Coverage:

  • Early slam: Nadler told senators that Trump's conduct "puts even Richard Nixon to shame," reports Politico. “This conduct is not ‘America First,’” he said, a nod to Trump’s campaign slogan. “This conduct is Donald Trump first.”
  • About-face? Nadler also sought to use Trump attorney Alan Dershowitz's own words against him, reports the Washington Post. He played a video of Dershowitz in 1998 speaking about the Bill Clinton impeachment and asserting that no crime was necessary to impeach. “It certainly doesn’t have to be a crime if you have somebody who completely corrupts the office of president and who abuses trust and poses great danger to our liberty," said Dershowitz, who has since changed his view. (Dershowitz was grilled about this by Anderson Cooper.) Nadler made similar points about previous comments by Lindsey Graham and Attorney General Barr.

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  • Defending Biden: Rep. Sylvia Garcia, another of the impeachment managers, defended Joe Biden's actions toward Ukraine when he was vice president. “The allegations against Biden are completely groundless,” Garcia said, referring to Biden's efforts to get Ukraine's prosecutor general ousted because of corruption allegations. Biden's actions were in sync with US policy, unlike Trump's, she said. Republicans say Biden was trying to protect his son.
  • Rand's doodle: Rand Paul spent the early part of the day doodling an image of the US Capitol, notes the New York Times. But then Garcia played a video clip of State Department official George Kent being asked whether Republicans such as Paul believed that what Biden did is the same as what Trump did. "Looking up from his doodle, Mr. Paul smiled and raised a fist with his index finger extended, as if to say, 'Yes!'" per the Times. "Then, when Mr. Kent answered by saying that what Mr. Biden did was very different than what Mr. Trump did, Mr. Paul lowered his arm."
  • Graham's timing: Nadler rolled out a video clip of Graham speaking years ago as one of Clinton's impeachment managers. “What’s a high crime?” he asked then. "How about an important person hurts someone of low means? It’s not very scholarly but I think it’s the truth.” However, Graham wasn't actually in his seat when the clip came out because he had left the chamber. Politico suspects he knew the video was coming. On his return, fellow Republican Ben Sasse whispered something to him and Graham chuckled.
  • Hacking theory: Lead impeachment manager Rep. Adam Schiff said a "completely bogus" theory often cited by Trump that Ukraine, not Russia, hacked the 2016 election actually came from the Kremlin. He also noted speculation that Trump was heavily swayed by Rudy Giuliani. "You can say a lot of things about President Trump, but he is not led by the nose by Rudy Giuliani."
  • Short Saturday: It looks like the Senate will opt for a short Saturday session that begins early and wraps up in the morning, reports CNN. The plan isn't finalized yet, but few senators are expected to object—especially the Democrats running for president who might hightail it for Iowa. No session will be held on Sunday.
(Read more Trump impeachment stories.)

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