WASHINGTON (Reuters) – After weeks of delay, the House of Representatives is expected to send impeachment charges against President Donald Trump to the Senate on Wednesday, clearing the way for that chamber to consider whether Trump should be removed from office.
The multi-week trial in the Senate is expected to finally end with the president's acquittal. But he will focus attention on Trump's efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate a political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, as the 2020 presidential campaign begins in earnest.
Biden is one of 12 candidates competing for the Democratic nomination, and the trial could still be ongoing when Iowa and New Hampshire hold their first nomination contests in early February.
None of the 53 Senate Republicans have expressed support for Trump's expulsion, a step that would require a two-thirds majority in the 100-member chamber.
Although the final result is not in doubt, the trial could generate some moments of drama.
Democrats press to call former Trump national security adviser John Bolton a witness, which could be detrimental to Trump. Other witnesses in the political trial investigation said Bolton was a vocal critic of the effort to pressure Ukraine.
The Republican Senate leader, Mitch McConnell, has resisted the idea of calling witnesses, saying that his camera should only consider the evidence that has been unearthed by the House. But other Republicans and Trump himself have said they would like to call their own witnesses, including Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, who were on the board of a Ukrainian gas company.
House of Representatives Democrats said Wednesday night they would expand their case against Trump, saying they would include phone records and other documents provided over the weekend by Florida businessman Lev Parnas, who worked with Trump's personal lawyer. , Rudy Giuliani, to pressure Ukraine.
Also on Wednesday, the president of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, will reveal who will act as prosecutor in the Senate trial. Likely candidates include the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff, who led the political trial investigation, and the president of the House Judiciary Committee, Jerrold Nadler, whose panel drew up the political trial charges that were approved by the Chamber in a largely partisan vote in December.
Wednesday's vote in the House marks the end of a failed Pelosi tactic to pressure McConnell to commit to calling the witnesses the Democrats want.
Pelosi retained the articles of political trial for four weeks, drawing accusations from Republicans that he was undermining the arguments of the Democrats that they should act quickly to prevent Trump from obtaining foreign aid in the 2020 elections. Democrats say the delay helped to discover more evidence that reinforced his case.
Andy Sullivan's report; Edition by Cynthia Osterman
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