President Trump's impeachment trial resumes in the Senate Thursday with lawmakers continuing to question House managers and Trump's legal defense team about the president's alleged high crimes and misdemeanors, as outlined in the articles of impeachment. Thursday's proceedings set up a key vote that will take place Friday to determine whether the Senate will call witnesses, including former national security adviser John Bolton.
One of President Trump's attorneys, retired law professor Alan Dershowitz, told Senators Wednesday that a trade of U.S. military aid for political favors — even if proven — could not be grounds for his impeachment.
Democrats pressed hard to force the Senate to call more witnesses to testify, but Republicans appeared intently focused on bringing the impeachment trial to a vote of acquittal, possibly in a matter of days. Even new revelations from Bolton were countered by the president's lawyers, who used Wednesday's unusual question-and-answer session to warn off prolonging the proceeding, insisting senators have heard enough.
Democrats argued Bolton's forthcoming book cannot be ignored. It contends he personally heard Trump say he wanted military aid withheld from Ukraine until it agreed to investigate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden — the abuse of power charge that is the first article of impeachment.
As Chief Justice John Roberts fielded queries, Texas Republican Ted Cruz asked if it mattered whether there was a quid pro quo?
Simply, no, declared Dershowitz, who said many politicians equate their reelection with the public good. “That's why it's so dangerous to try to psychoanalyze a president,” he said.
Rep. Adam Schiff, the Democrat leading the House prosecutors, appeared stunned.
“All quid pro quos are not the same," he retorted. Some might be acceptable, some not. “And you don't need to be a mind reader to figure out which is which. For one thing, you can ask John Bolton."
Additional reporting by the Associated Press