Democratic House impeachment managers are in their final day of arguments against President Trump. Friday's focus: obstruction of justice. The impeachment managers are asserting that Trump withheld crucial documents and blocked the testimony of top White House officials, reports the Wall Street Journal. "The president tried to cheat," said impeachment manager Rep. Hakeem Jeffries at the start of Friday's session, per CNN. "He got caught, and then he worked hard to cover it up." As for the delay in US aid to Ukraine at the heart of the controversy: "The $391 million in security aid was only released because President Trump was caught red-handed," said Jeffries. Related:
- Invoking McCain: Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff put the case-to-impeach this way: "If someone sacrifices the national interest in favor of his own and is not removed from office, our democracy is in jeopardy. It’s just that simple.” He also invoked the late John McCain, who said in 2014 after a Russian incursion into Ukraine: "We are all Ukrainians." He said McCain "advised that this is a chess match reminiscent of the Cold War, and we need to realize that and act accordingly,” Schiff said, per the Washington Post. “He was, of course, absolutely right.” He also played a video clip of McCain extolling the beauty and importance of that country, notes Politico.
- Witness protection: Trump's effort to obstruct justice reached witnesses in the House investigation, Rep. Val Demings told the Senate. She brought up his tweet about Marie Yovanovitch, former ambassador to Ukraine, during her testimony and showed video of his attacks on others. It adds up to witness intimidation, she said, per the Post. "We must not condone President Trump’s attacks on whistleblowers and witnesses," Demings said.
- Trump unhappy: The president tweeted Friday that he's not thrilled with how the impeachment schedule has fallen. “After having been treated unbelievably unfairly in the House, and then having to endure hour after hour of lies, fraud & deception by Shifty Schiff, Cryin’ Chuck Schumer & their crew, looks like my lawyers will be forced to start on Saturday, which is called Death Valley in T.V.,” Trump wrote.
- Short Saturday: This should help Trump's concern about Saturday: That day's session will be short, reports the Hill. It's scheduled to begin at 10am and wrap up two hours later. The trial would then resume on Monday.
- Over next week? GOP Rep. Jim Jordan predicted the trial would be over next week, without any new witnesses being called and with Trump's acquittal. White House press chief Stephanie Grisham said she hopes he's right. “I do hope so. I hope so for this country,” Grisham said on Fox News. "I think the country is tired of this."
- Watch Lamar: Senators won't decide on whether to call witnesses until after opening arguments, and it all hinges on whether Democrats can get four Republicans to vote with them. Politico reports that GOP Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee is the key vote. Three other senators already have voiced some degree of support about witnesses, and Alexander, who is retiring this year, could be the deciding factor.
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