Trump impeachment trial closing arguments aim at voters, history

WASHINGTON, DC (CNN/AP) - Closing arguments Monday in President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial were aimed more toward history than to sway the outcome, one final chance to influence public opinion and set the record ahead of his expected acquittal in the Republican-led Senate.

President Donald Trump, together with first lady Melania Trump and their son Barron Trump, arrive at the White House, Sunday, Feb. 2, 2020, in Washington from a weekend trip at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

The House Democratic prosecutors say senators — and Americans — should see that Trump’s actions are not isolated but a pattern of behavior that, left unchecked, will allow him to “cheat”' in the 2020 election.

House managers opened with a plea from Democratic Rep. Jason Crow of Colorado, a freshman, who told the chamber: “We cannot and should not leave our common sense at the door.”

Trump's defense countered that the “fast-track” impeachment case against the president was flawed, rushed and nothing short of an effort to undo the 2016 election and shape the next one.

The entire matter is likely to be wrapped up by Wednesday, one day after Trump gives the State of the Union.

On Wednesday the Senate will vote on whether to convict him and remove him from office.

“I will never buy into the fact that people will do something that is politically expedient, and I certainly hope that our Democratic senators uphold the Constitution and protect our country,” said Rep. Cindy Axne, D-Iowa.

A vote for acquittal is a near certainty. The Republicans have a majority in the Senate, and some Democrats might join them as well.

Although Trump says his call with Ukrainian President Zelensky was “perfect,” some supporters concede it could have been handled better.

“Generally speaking, going after corruption would be the right thing to do, but he did it maybe in the wrong manner,” said Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa.

Critics say now the president will face another jury on Election Day 2020.

“We get to send a message at the ballot box that cheating, lying, involving a foreign country in our own domestic politics, not to mention abuse of power more broadly and bad administration, that that’s not OK, that we can do better,” said Pete Buttigieg, Democratic presidential candidate.

House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff would not say whether the house plans to subpoena John Bolton.

The former national security adviser reportedly says in his upcoming book that President Trump told him that U.S. security aid to Ukraine was dependent on investigations into Democrats including presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son Hunter.

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