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AP Photo/Steve Helber
House impeachment managers made their final opening arguments for President Donald Trump's removal from office on Friday.
Trump was impeached last month for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
On Wednesday, the impeachment managers, who act as prosecutors in Trump's Senate trials, gave a broad overview of the charges against him and the timeline of his alleged misconduct.
On Thursday, they turned their focus to his alleged abuse of power. On Friday, they targeted his alleged obstruction of Congress.
Scroll down to watch the trial and follow Insider's live coverage.
This week, the Senate's impeachment trial against President Donald Trump began in earnest with opening arguments from House impeachment managers — who essentially act as prosecutors in the case — as to why the president should be removed from office.
Trump was impeached last month for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Both charges relate to his efforts to pressure Ukraine to launch politically motivated investigations against his rivals ahead of the 2020 election while withholding vital military aid and a White House meeting that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky desperately sought.
On Wednesday, House Democrats laid out a broad yet detailed overview of the president's scheme to pressure Ukraine into acceding to his personal demands while freezing security assistance and dangling a White House meeting.
On Thursday, House prosecutors discussed the constitutional grounds for impeaching Trump, and why his actions rise to the level of impeachable conduct. They then turned their focus to Trump's alleged abuse of power.
They drew on testimony from Trump's own officials who said his actions were "wrong," "inappropriate," and "improper."
On Friday, House managers shifted their focus to Trump's "unprecedented" obstruction of the impeachment inquiry.
The trial resumed around 1 p.m. ET, and House Democrats concluded their opening arguments around 8:53 p.m.
C-SPAN and TV networks are relying on the Senate's live feed of the trial.
C-SPAN is airing the trial at cspan.org.
You can watch the third day of opening arguments below:
Scroll down to read Insider's coverage of Trump's historic trial:
'Give America a fair trial. She's worth it'
Lead House impeachment manager Adam Schiff, a skilled orator and former prosecutor, made a heartfelt appeal as he closed out Democrats' opening arguments for the Senate to allow for a fair trial that includes witness testimony and documents.
He invoked famous Republicans from US history like former President Abraham Lincoln and former congressman Tom Railsback, who died on Monday. Railsback led a group of four Republicans who were instrumental in initiating the impeachment process against Richard Nixon in the wake of the Watergate scandal.
Here are highlights of what Schiff said as he formally concluded the Democrats' opening arguments on Friday evening:
"This is no parking ticket we are contesting, no shoplifting case we are prosecuting. It is a matter of high crimes and misdemanors how long is too long to have a fair trial fair to the president and fair to the American people?"
"From their prison cells in Turkey, journalists look to us. From their internment camps in China, they look to us. From their cells in Egypt, those who gathered in Tahrir Square for a better life look to us. From the Philippines, those that were the victims and their families of mass extrajudicial killings, they look to us."
"From all over the world, they look to us. And increasingly, they don't recognize what they see. It's a terrible tragedy for them, it's a worse tragedy for us, because there's nowhere else for them to turn."
"They look to us because we are still the indispensable nation. They look to us because we have a rule of law. They look to us because no one is above that law. And one of the things that separates us from those people ... is the right to a trial. Americans get a fair trial. And so I ask you, I implore you, give America a fair trial. She's worth it. Thank you."
House manager Adam Schiff previews the Trump defense team's rebuttal
Schiff outlined what he expects President Trump's defense team's argument will be:
"You will hear, the call was perfect. The call was perfect. Now, I suspect the reason they will make the argument, the call was perfect, is because the President insists that they do. I don't think they really want to have to make that argument. You wouldn't either, but they have a client to represent and so they will make the argument, the call was perfect."
He also suggested that Trump's team will insist that there was no quid pro quo with Ukraine, a line Trump and his allies often throw out:
"The President said there was no quid pro quo. I guess that's the end of the story. This is a well-known principle of criminal law that if the defendant says he didn't do it, he couldn't have done it. If the defendant learns and he's been caught and he says he didn't do it, he couldn't have done it. That doesn't hold up in any court in the land. It shouldn't hold up here."
The California Democrat went on to highlight how Trump's lawyers' statements, in which they said a president cannot be impeached for abusing his power, were contradicted by their own prior comments.
He added that Trump's lawyers will also likely target the whistleblower who sparked the impeachment inquiry threatening Trump's presidency. Several Republican lawmakers tried to learn the identity of the whistleblower, which is protected under federal law, during the House impeachment hearings, but Schiff continuously quashed that line of questioning.
Trump himself has accused the whistleblower of espionage and treason, crimes that are punishable by death.
Schiff went through a few other points Trump's team will likely bring up:
The Obama administration withheld foreign aid, too.
Fact check: Obama and other presidents have in fact withheld or frozen foreign aid. But none of them did so for their personal benefit.
"The call was perfect."
Fact check: Multiple nonpartisan, career officials testified that they found the July 25 phone call between Trump and Ukraine's president at the center of the impeachment inquiry to be "inappropriate" and "wrong."
"No harm no foul. They got the money. And they got the meeting on the sideline of the UN."
Fact check: Schiff highlighted that a meeting on the sidelines of the UN is not the same as a White House meeting, as Ukraine's president said. As far as Ukraine getting the military aid, it's true that the president released it, but he only did so after Congress and the public learned of his actions.
Schiff: As soon as Ukraine and Russia learned of the aid freeze, "there was immediate harm. Because someone is caught, because a scheme is thwarted, doesn't make that scheme any less criminal or corrupt. You get no pass when you get caught."
Trump never specifically said he was bribing Ukraine, and if a witness didn't directly see the president do this, it couldn't have happened.
Fact check: Schiff underscored the absurdity of this claim, saying it was akin to telling jurors not to consider anything but "a televised confession by the president." And even then, he said, they would urge the public not to consider it.
You can't impeach the president over the exercise of executive privilege.
Fact check: The White House did not invoke executive privilege even once throughout the impeachment process.
House manager Adam Schiff mocks Trump for being thin-skinned and attacking Democrats to distract from his own alleged misconduct
Screenshot via CSPAN
Schiff, a former prosecutor who led the impeachment inquiry against President Trump, has become something of a bete noire for Republicans.
He alluded to their attacks on him — which included accusing him of mocking the president — during his closing remarks Friday.
Here's what he said:
"Well, here's what I discovered from mocking the president. And that is, for a man who loves to mock others, he does not like to be mocked. It turns out, he's got a pretty thin skin. Who would've thought?"
Schiff also dinged the president and his allies for attacking "all kinds of members of the House" to distract from his misconduct.
"Look for it," Schiff said. "Attacks on the managers, attacks on other House members, attacks on the Speaker, attacks on who knows what."
House manager Adam Schiff blows up Republican allegations of a 'sham' impeachment process
Throughout the impeachment inquiry and Senate trial of President Trump, Republicans, particularly those in the House of Representatives, have complained that the process lacked transparency and was conducted in secret to keep the public in the dark.
They also accused Democrats of not allowing Republicans to participate in the impeachment hearings. At one point during the proceedings last year, a group of Trump-allied Republicans, led by Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, stormed a secure facility in protest.
Schiff, who led the investigation in the House as chairman of the intelligence committee, threw cold water on those allegations during his closing remarks Friday evening.
"That's just false," he said of the accusations.
He specified that 100 members of Congress — including every Republican and Democrat on three House committees — were allowed to participate in the hearings, which were initially closed-door to protect classified or sensitive information. Republicans and Democrats were given equal time to ask questions of witnesses.
The only questions Schiff did not allow were those that focused on trying to out the identity of the whistleblower who filed a complaint against Trump that sparked the impeachment inquiry.
Schiff released transcripts of all the closed-door hearings, and more than a dozen officials later testified in public hearings.
"The fact is, we had the same process" as previous impeachments in US history, the California Democrat said. "When they say the process is unfair, what they really mean is, don't look at what the president did. For God's sake, don't look at what the president did."
House manager Adam Schiff: Not holding Trump accountable will inflict 'an unending injury to this country' and the 'balance of power' will 'never be the same'
Schiff struck a more forceful and impassioned tone as he discussed why it was important to hold Trump accountable for not just misusing his power but for stonewalling Congress and the courts.
Here's what he said:
"Our relationship with Ukraine will survive. But if we are to decide here that a president of the United States can simply say that, 'Under Article 2 [of the Constitution], I can do whatever I want, and I don't have to treat a political branch of government like it exists,' that will be an unending injury to this country. Ukraine will survive, and so will we, but that will be an unending injury to this country, because the balance of power that our founders set out will never be the same."
The 'facts are not contested'
Throughout the impeachment process, House Democrats have consistently hammered down how there is "overwhelming evidence" against President Trump and that the "facts are not contested."
Schiff reiterated that point during his closing remarks and as he discussed how the president leveraged official US policy for his personal, political benefit and, subsequently, how he stonewalled the House of Representatives' impeachment inquiry in an "unprecedented" fashion.
The California Democrat also underscored the importance of the second article of impeachment against Trump, which charges him with obstruction of Congress.
"If there is no Article 2, let me tell you something, there will never be an Article 1," Schiff said. "And why is that? Because if you and we lack the power to investigate a preisdent, there will never be an Article 1, whether that Article 1 is abuse of power or that Article 1 is treason of that Article 1 is bribery."
"There will never be an Article 1 if the Congress can't investigate an impeachable offense, if the Congress cannot, because the president prevents it, investigate the president's own wrongdoing," he said. "There will never be an Article 1, because there will be no more impeachment power. It will be gone."
In final arguments, House manager Adam Schiff describes Trump's efforts to extort Ukraine and subsequently cover up his actions: 'That has been proved'
In his final remarks before Democrats formally concluded their opening argument, Schiff circled back to the two charges against President Trump: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
Schiff reiterated Democrats' allegation that Trump solicited Ukraine's interference in the upcoming election by demanding investigations targeting former Vice President Joe Biden, a 2020 Democratic frontrunner, and the Democratic Party.
The California Democrat went on to lay out the evidence against Trump, which included not just document and firsthand witness testimony, but Trump's and other White House officials' public comments.
As he read through the articles of impeachment against Trump, Schiff emphasized that the allegations have "been proved."
Schiff described how the president "conditioned two official acts" — the release of nearly $400 million in congressionally appropriated military aid to Ukraine and a White House meeting for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky — on the public announcement of the investigations he wanted.
"That has been proved," Schiff repeated.
"Faced with public revelation of his actions, President Trump ultimately released the military and security assistance to the government of Ukraine but has persisted in openly and corruptly urging and soliciting Ukraine to undertake investigations for his personal political benefit," he continued.
Lead impeachment manager Adam Schiff: 'I don't know about you but I'm exhausted'
Screenshot via CSPAN
Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and the lead impeachment manager, gave voice to what many lawmakers and reporters covering the trial have been thinking.
"First point I'd like to make is I'm tired," Schiff said as he addressed senators after announcing that House Democrats would soon wrap up their opening arguments. "I don't know about you but I'm exhausted. And I can only imagine how you feel."
"But I'm also very deeply grateful for just how you have attended to these presentations and discussions over the last few days," he added. "I can tell how much consideration you've given to our point of view and the president's point of view, and that's all we can ask. At the end of the day, all we can ask is that you hear us out and make the best judgment that you can consistent with your conscience and our Constitution."
House impeachment manager Jason Crow: 'Those who have given so much for this country deserve nothing less from us now than to try to honor those sacrifices'
Screenshot via C-SPAN
House impeachment manager Jason Crow, a representative from Colorado who served as an Army Ranger, gave a moving speech as he concluded his remarks in opening arguments.
Here's what he said:
"I have seen people give everything for this country so we can sit here today. Now this isn't politically expedient, it certainly isn't for me. It's hard, it requires sacrifice, it's uncomfortable. But that is the very definition of public service. That we are here to give of ourselves for the country, for others. Those who have given so much for this country deserve nothing less from us now than to try to honor those sacrifices. I had tried to do that the last few days. My time is done, and it is now your turn."
Attorney representing Lev Parnas, an associate of Rudy Giuliani, turned over a 2018 tape to Congress that shows Trump angrily ordering the firing of Marie Yovanovitch, the US's former ambassador to Ukraine
During a 30-minute break in the Senate proceedings, Joseph Bondy, a lawyer representing Lev Parnas, announced he had turned over a tape from 2018 that shows President Trump angrily ordering the firing of Marie Yovanovitch, then the US's ambassador to Ukraine.
Parnas is one of Rudy Giuliani's Ukrainian business associates. He and another Giuliani associate, Igor Fruman, were indicted last year for violating campaign finance law.
Parnas has dominated headlines over the past several weeks after turning over a trove of bombshell documents related to Trump's pressure campaign in Ukraine to the House Intelligence Committee.
Bondy said Friday that Parnas uncovered the tape after going back through his "cloud."
ABC News first reported the tape's existence on Friday morning.
"Get rid of her!" a voice that sounded like Trump's said in the recording, according to ABC. "Get her out tomorrow. I don't care. Get her out tomorrow. Take her out. OK? Do it."
Yovanovitch and other career officials testified to Congress that she was ousted because Giuliani saw her as an obstacle in his path as he tried to force Ukraine's government to launch politically motivated investigations to benefit Trump's reelection campaign.
He subsequently worked with John Solomon, a controversial columnist for The Hill who's been accused of shoddy reporting, to plant negative and defamatory stories about Yovanovitch that accused her of being anti-Trump. Yovanovitch and other officials have said there's no merit to the stories.
House manager Hakeem Jeffries: Trump impeachment process is 'entirely consistent with the Richard Nixon precedent'
House impeachment managers frequently compared and contrasted President Donald Trump and his impeachment inquiry with President Richard Nixon and the Watergate scandal on Friday.
New York Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, one of the seven impeachment managers, told senators that the "sequence of events" in Trump's impeachment "largely track those in the Nixon proceedings."
His comments came as Trump and his allies in Congress and the media repeatedly accuse House Democrats of running a "sham" impeachment process, not calling more witnesses, and rushing through the investigation without giving the president a chance to defend himself.
(Fact check: Democrats invited Trump's lawyers to participate in the House impeachment hearings, which they declined. As far as witness testimony goes, Trump himself issued a sweeping directive for all executive branch officials and government agencies not to comply with Congress' investigation.)
Jeffries said on Friday that the timeline of events in Trump's impeachment inquiry is "entirely consistent with the Richard Nixon precedent."
He added that the president "is a suspect, a suspect who may have committed a high crime or misdemeanor. He cannot tell the detectives investigating the possible constitutional crime what they should do in the context of their investigation."
House impeachment manager Jerry Nadler: Trump is a 'dictator'
Screenshot via C-SPAN
Nadler, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, is one of Trump's most outspoken critics.
He didn't mince words on Friday when he said Trump is the "first and only president ever to declare himself unaccountable and to ignore subpoenas backed by the Constitution's impeachment power."
"If he is not removed from office, if he is permitted to defy the Congress entirely, categorically, to say the subpoenas from Congress in the impeachment inquiry are nonsense, then we will have lost, the House will have lost, the Senate certainly will have lost, all power to hold any president accountable," Nadler said.
He added that the president "wants to be all powerful. He does not have to respect the Congress. He does not have to respect the representatives of the people. Only his will goes."
"He is a dictator," the New York Democrat said. "This must not stand, and that is why another reason he must be removed from office."
House impeachment manager Zoe Lofgren: Nixon was more transparent than Trump
Screenshot via CSPAN 2/Senate TV
While discussing President Trump's stonewalling of the impeachment inquiry, House manager Zoe Lofgren said former President Richard Nixon was more transparent than Trump.
Quoting Nixon's directive to administration officials during the Watergate scandal, Lofgren said, "All members of the White House staff will appear voluntarily when requested by the committee, they will testify under oath, and they will answer fully all proper questions."
Lofgren was a lawyer for the House Judiciary Committee during Nixon's impeachment inquiry. She also served during Bill Clinton's impeachment in the 1990s.
She compared Nixon's order for administration officials to comply with Congress' investigation during Watergate to Trump's refusal to allow any executive branch officials to testify or provide documents during his impeachment inquiry.
Lofgren pointed to an October letter that Trump's lawyers sent to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi after she launched the impeachment inquiry.
"In the letter to the speaker of the House, the White House counsel said that President Trump, quote, cannot permit his administration to participate," Lofgren said. "No president has ever used the official power of his office to prevent witnesses from giving testimony to Congress in such a blanket and indiscriminate manner."
House prosecutors take aim at Trump's 'comprehensive,' 'categorical,' and 'indiscriminate' obstruction of the impeachment inquiry.
Screenshot via C-SPAN 2/Senate TV
"This was not about specific, narrowly defined security or privacy issues, nor was it based on potential privileges available to the executive branch," House impeachment manager Val Demings said as she referred to the graphic above.
"This was a declaration of total defiance of the House's authority to investigate credible allegations of the president's misconduct and a wholesale rejection of Congress' ability to hold the president accountable," she added.
Demings continued: "Following President Trump's orders, the Office of the Vice President, the Office of Management and Budget, the Department of State, the Department of Energy, and the Department of Defense all continued to refuse to produce a single document or record in response to 71 specific requests, including five subpoenas."
Lead House impeachment manager Adam Schiff: Trump siding with Putin over the US intel community was 'a breathtaking success of Russian intelligence'
Associated Press/Pablo Martinez Monsivais
Schiff gave an impassioned monologue about President Trump's infamous press conference following a bilateral summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the summer of 2018.
During the presser, Trump sided with Russia over the US intelligence community and said he didn't see any reason why Russia would have interfered in the 2016 election.
Here's what Schiff said about the episode:
"I mean there he, is the president of Russia standing next to the president of the United States and hearing his own Kremlin propaganda talking points coming from the president of the United States. It's the most extraordinary thing. The president of the United States standing next to the president of Russia, our adversary, saying he doesn't believe his own intelligence agencies. He's promoting this kooky crazy server theory cooked up by the Kremlin right next to the guy that cooked it up. It's a breathtaking success of Russian intelligence. I don't know if there's ever been a greater success of Russian intelligence. Whatever profile Russia did of our president, boy did they have it spot on. Flattery and propaganda is all Russia needed. This is the most incredible propaganda coup."
House impeachment manager Jason Crow zeroes in on Pentagon official who repeatedly flagged Trump's conduct as being potentially illegal
Screenshot via C-SPAN
Rep. Jason Crow of Colorado, another impeachment manager, later detailed how Trump held up Ukraine's aid even as US officials voiced concerns about the legality of his actions.
Crow zeroed in on Elaine McCusker, a Pentagon official who repeatedly flagged the Office of Management and Budget's decision to freeze aid, at Trump's direction, as potentially breaking the law.
Earlier this month, the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office found that the OMB violated the Impoundment Control Act, a law that limits when a president can defer congressionally approved spending, by substituting "his own policy priorities for those that Congress has enacted into law."
House impeachment manager Hakeem Jeffries: 'What can be more urgent than a sitting president trying to cheat in an American election by soliciting foreign interference?'
Jeffries trained his sights on a period of time from mid-August to early September.
On August 12, an anonymous US intelligence official filed a whistleblower complaint against Trump accusing him of soliciting foreign interference in the 2020 election.
On August 26, the intelligence community inspector general (ICIG), Michael Atkinson, transmitted the complaint to the acting direct of national intelligence (DNI), Joseph Maguire, and flagged it as "credible" and of "urgent concern."
Maguire testified that after receiving the complaint, he notified the White House because of executive privilege considerations. Under federal law, Maguire was "required to share the whistleblower's complaint with Congress, period, full stop," Jeffries said.
He added that Trump and White House lawyers adopted a "two-prong cover-up strategy."
Try to convince Trump to lift the hold on Ukraine's military aid before anyone found out.
Block Congess and the public from learning about the complaint.
Jeffries accused the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel of working with the White House to determine that Maguire did not have to turn the complaint over to Congress because it was not actually a matter of "urgent concern."
The "cover up was in full swing," Jeffries said.
"What can be more urgent than a sitting president trying to cheat in an American election by soliciting foreign interference?" he added. "What can be more urgent than that? That's a constitutional crime in progress."
House impeachment manager Hakeem Jeffries: White House officials 'worked overtime' to cover up Trump's Ukraine scheme
Screenshot via CSPAN-2/Senate TV
Jeffries, a Democrat from New York, outlined how White House officials "worked overtime" to conceal President Trump's scheme "from the American people" despite being aware of his "serious misconduct" in July.
"The President tried to cheat. He got caught, and then he worked hard to cover it up," he said.
Several witnesses in the impeachment inquiry testified that although they reported concerns to their superiors about a July 25 phone call in which Trump repeatedly pressed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, no action was taken.
The call was the second time national security officials reported Trump's behavior.
Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council, listened in on the call and immediately flagged it to John Eisenberg, the chief lawyer on the NSC.
Vindman testified last year that Eisenberg told him not to tell anyone else about his concerns and shifted a full transcript of the call to a top-secret codeword NSC server typically used to house sensitive information pertaining to national security.
Tim Morrison, another NSC official who testifed in the impeachment inquiry, told Congress that he reported concerns about the phone call to Eisenberg as well.
Vindman and Fiona Hill, the former senior director for Russian and Eurasian affairs at the White House, also testified that they informed Eisenberg of a July 10 meeting during which Gordon Sondland, the US's ambassador to the European Union, asked Ukrainian officials to pursue politically motivated investigations that Trump wanted in exchange for a White House meeting for Zelensky.
John Bolton, who was the national security adviser at the time, cut the meeting short and immediately instructed Hill to "tell the lawyers," according to Hill's testimony.
Despite multiple reports about Trump's and his deputies' conduct, "the White House attorneys allowed it to continue, unchecked," Jeffries said.
The lawyers took "affirmative steps to conceal President Trump's misconduct," he added.
What to expect on Saturday
Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that President Trump's defense team will begin opening arguments at 10 a.m. ET on Saturday. The arguments are expected to last until roughly 1 p.m. ET.
A summary of what happened on day 2 of opening arguments
On the second day of opening arguments, House impeachment managers hammered President Trump for boxing Ukraine into a corner while allegedly abusing his power.
They also detailed the constitutional and legal precedent that they said supports Trump's impeachment and removal from office.
Impeachment manager Jerry Nadler, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, opened for the prosecution by detailing what he described as the "ABC's of high crimes and misdemeanors."
"Abuse of power."
"Betrayal of nation, particularly through foreign entanglements."
"Corruption, particularly corruption of elections."
"The framers believed that any one of these standing alone justified removal from office," Nadler said.
Lead House impeachment manager Adam Schiff appeared several times throughout the day to underscore what he said was the illegality of Trump's conduct.
"If the truth doesn't matter, we're lost," Schiff said in his closing arguments.
A summary of what happened on day 1 of opening arguments
SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images
Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, gave a broad overview of the timeline of the president's pressure campaign in Ukraine.
It centers around a July 25 phone call Trump had with Zelensky, during which he repeatedly pressed Zelensky to launch investigations targeting former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, over the latter's employment on the board of the Ukrainian natural-gas company Burisma Holdings.
Trump also asked Zelensky to look into a discredited conspiracy theory started by Russia suggesting Ukraine interfered in the 2016 US election.
But Schiff and the six other impeachment managers detailed that the phone call was just one data point in what turned out to be a months-long effort by Trump and his allies to leverage US foreign policy to bully Ukraine into acceding to the president's personal, political demands.
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