The Defence team of United State President Donald Trump have accused Democrats of trying to overturn the 2016 election and also remove the President from the 2020 ballot as they began their defence in the Senate impeachment trial.
White House counsel, Pat Cippollone, starting things off for the defence on Saturday, said Democrats are not only asking the Senate to remove the President from office, but also from the ballot for the 2020 presidential election in the country.
“They’re asking you not only to overturn the results of the last election, but as I have said before, they’re asking you to remove President Trump from the ballot for an election that’s occurring in approximately nine months.
“They’re asking you to tear up all of the ballots across this country on your own initiative. Take that decision away from the American people.
“It would violate our constitution, it would violate our history, it would violate our commitment to the future,” he said.
Cippollone noted that the House managers have not met their burden of proof.
“You’ve heard the House managers speak for nearly 24 hours over three days. We don’t anticipate using that much time. We don’t believe that they have come anywhere close to meeting their burden for what they’re asking you to do.
“The President did absolutely nothing wrong,” he told senators.
Trump’s personal attorney, Jay Sekulow, told the Senators that Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky has said the call was “normal” and that “nobody pushed me”.
“They think you can read minds. I think you look at the words,” Sekulow said of Zelensky’s previous remarks.
Trump defence lawyer Mike Purpura insisted there was no quid pro quo as asserted by the Democrats.
“Zelenksy felt no pressure. President Zelensky says he felt no pressure. The House managers tell you they know better,” he said.
Trump was alleged to have withheld military aid to pressure the Ukrainian President into starting a corruption investigation into his political rival, Democrat Joe Biden, and his son Hunter. The House of Representatives charged him with Abuse of Power for the dealings.
The President was also charged with obstructing Congress by failing to cooperate with the House impeachment inquiry.
Trump has repeatedly denied wrongdoing, describing the accusations as a “witch-hunt”.
The second day of defence arguments in the Senate trial resumes on Monday at 1 pm local time (7 pm Nigerian time) allowing for a short weekend break.