Trump impeachment trial day five: All the latest updates

Democrats finish laying out their case in their final day of arguments in the Republican-controlled Senate trial.

trump trial day 5
House managers will present their final day of arguments on the fifth day of Trump's Senate trial [File: Evan Vucci/The Associated Press]

The Republican-controlled United States Senate heard the final day of arguments against President Donald Trump as the impeachment trial entered its fifth day on Friday.

In six days of presentations, the president’s defence team and Democratic legislators from the House of Representatives will attempt to convince senators to join their side to either acquit or convict Trump.

Democratic House managers on Thursday focused on the abuse of power article of impeachment against Trump in arguing the constitutional basis for the president’s removal from office. They also pre-empted a likely line of attack from the president’s defence, arguing there was no evidence that former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter acted improperly in Ukraine

Trump’s defence team is expected to start its arguments on Saturday. 

Here are all the latest updates as of Friday, January 24:

And that is a wrap for the evening 

Lead House manager Adam Schiff concluded his team’s three days of opening arguments by saying: “Give America a fair trial. She is worth it.” 

Pompeo loses temper with journalist over Ukraine questions

It began when US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gave an early morning interview to National Public Radio (NPR).

Much of the discussion dealt with Iran, but journalist Mary Louise Kelly closed by asking Pompeo about Ukraine.

“Do you owe [former] Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch an apology?” Kelly asked Pompeo.

A tense exchange followed, wherein Pompeo said he had “defended every State Department official”, while Kelly asked, in vain, when he had publicly defended Yovanovitch.

“I’ve said all I’m going to say today. Thank you,” Pompeo said finally, ending the interview.

But the story did not end there, and Kelly related the rest in an NPR broadcast on Friday evening.

She said she thanked the secretary, who did not reply but leaned in and glared at her before leaving the room. A staffer then invited Kelly to Pompeo’s private living room, without her recorder.

There, Pompeo “was waiting and… he shouted at me for about same amount of time as the interview itself lasted,” Kelly said.

“He was not happy to have been questioned about Ukraine,” Kelly said, adding that the secretary asked her “Do you think Americans care about Ukraine?” while using swear words.

Schiff says he is the last speaker

Lead House impeachment manager Adam Schiff said he will be the last speaker of the evening. 

He said he got some advice not to go on for too long. He said he would try. 

And we’re back

Democrats expected to use their full remaining time (around three hours) to close out their opening arguments.

Dinner time

The Senate has recessed for a 30-minute dinner break. 

‘Constitutional crime:’ Quotes from day five of Trump’s impeachment trial

From Hakeem Jeffries, a Democratic House manager:

“President Trump tried to cheat. He got caught. And then he worked hard to cover it up.”

“What can be more urgent than a sitting president trying to cheat in an American election by soliciting foreign interference? … That’s a constitutional crime in progress.”

From Adam Schiff, the lead House impeachment manager:

“Cynicism makes it easier for enemies to influence our politics and undermine the national good. Indeed, this is precisely what (Russian President) Vladimir Putin intended when he meddled in the 2016 election. For us to become more cynical. For us to lose faith in the notion that the American system of government is superior to the corrupt, autocratic model of government that he has erected in Russia and sought to export to places like Ukraine.”

Adam Schiff
Lead manager House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff speaking during the continuation of opening arguments on the third day of the Senate impeachment trial of US President Donald Trump [US Senate TV/Handout via Reuters] 

From Jay Sekulow, lawyer for Trump

“We’re going to rebut and refute, and we’re going to put on an affirmative case tomorrow.”

“They opened up the door as wide as a double door on the Hunter Biden, Joe Biden, Burisma issue. I guess they figured that was their way of getting ahead of it. We will address it.”

Jay Sekulow
Trump’s personal lawyer Jay Sekulow speaks to the media during a break in the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, [Jacquelyn Martin/AP Photo] 

Trump’s personal lawyer Jay Sekulow speaks to the media during a break in the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, [Jacquelyn Martin/AP Photo] 

From Chuck Schumer, the top Democrat in the Senate

“This is a heavy moment. And you don’t know how this sense of constitutional and historical responsibility weighs on the shoulders. We know we’ll never get Trump, we know we’ll never get (Senate Majority Leader Mitch) McConnell, we know they’ll pressure Republican senators. But four Republican senators can step forward and say that we need witnesses and documents. And there are 12 or 13 who have never said a bad word about witnesses and documents.”

From Lindsey Graham, a top Republican in the Senate

“It became mind-numbing after a while. … I got the general point you’re trying to make the fourth time you told me. So they’re over-trying their case and I would just urge them to not do that because eventually it gets just hard to follow.”

From Democratic Senator Dick Durbin

“Let’s get this right. This notion of ‘get it done and get out here as fast as we can’ is not the best approach.”

“Everybody’s bone-weary, I can tell you, just sitting hour after hour after hour. But you know there’s a lot of evidence here.”

From Republican Senator Mike Braun

“They’re trying to build a circumstantial case for quid pro quo … when there wasn’t an actual quid pro quo. … That’s going to be a tough sell. Most folks from where I’m from are suspicious of the origin in the first place.”

Serious atmosphere in the Senate

The atmosphere in the Senate was serious at the start of House managers’ presentations on Friday with none of the antics of Republican senators seen previously in the week. 

Attendance was strong and most senators appeared to be paying close attention to what House Democrat Adam Schiff and others were saying.  

Republican Senator Mitt Romney, who has expressed a potential willingness to join with Democrats in calling witnesses, followed along on paper with a presentation labelled “President Trump’s Misconduct Harmed Our Nation”. 

A few who have made up their minds about how they are going to vote seemed preoccupied with other work. Senator Tom Cotton, a Republican, was studying a document and taking side notes from it, only occasionally looking up at the speakers.

Sekulow: We will address Biden in our defence

Trump Lawyer Jay Sekulow said the defence team plans to address Joe Biden and his son Hunter when they give their arguments.

Trump’s defenders have argued that Trump was pushing for legitimate investigations into a conflict of interest as Hunter Biden served on the board of a Ukrainian gas company while his father, then the vice president, was tasked with fighting corruption in the country. 

“[The House managers] opened up the door as wide as a double door on the Hunter Biden, Joe Biden Burisma issue,” he said. 

“I guess they were trying to get ahead of it, but we’re going to address,” he said. 

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Graham: ‘If shoe were on the other foot’ Democrats would want investigation into Biden

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said Democrats would be calling for an investigation if Hunter Biden was the son of a Republican official. 

“If the shoe were on the other foot…Adam Schiff would be leading the charge for an investigation of what happened, because it’s bad government, it is a clear conflict of interest,” he said. 

He added he did not think Joe Biden is “corrupt” but he has to answer some questions about his son being on the board of a Ukrainian gas company while Biden was tasked with fighting corruption.

Democrats have about five and half hours left on their time

House managers presenting the case for impeachment have so far used about 18 and half hours of their allotted time.

Under the rules resolution passed at the beginning of the trial, the prosecution team had 24 hours over three days to present their case. 

So far on Friday, the House managers had used about two and a half hours.

Schiff: ‘Flattery and propaganda, that’s all the Russians needed’

Lead House manager Adam Schiff, in closing an increasingly impassioned argument that the president abused his power, said Trump had parroted “Russian propaganda” in his statements on Russian interference in the 2016 election and by then perpetuating a Russian-spread theory that the meddling actually originated in Ukraine. 

Schiff referenced Trump’s 2018 comments at the Helsinki summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, in which he openly questioned US intelligence and appeared to side with Putin. 

He called it a “pattern”. 

“President Trump solicited interference from Russia as a candidate in 2016 and then his campaign welcomed Russian interference in the election,” he said. 

Poll: Majority of Americans want new witnesses

A new Washington Post-ABC News poll has found that 66 percent of Americans support the Senate calling more witnesses. 

Meanwhile, Americans remain split on whether Trump should have been impeached, with 52 percent in favour of the House’s vote and 45 percent against. 

Schiff: ‘We must not become numb to foreign interference in our elections’

Lead House manager Adam Schiff said not removing President Trump from office would be “corrosive to our elections and our values”.

“We must not become numb to foreign interference in our elections,” Schiff said. 

He added that Trump’s actions, if unchecked, would set a precedent to future presidents that “they too can cheat to attain power and keep it”.

“That way lies disaster for the great American experiment in self-governance,” he said. 

House Democratic impeachment manager Adam Schiff gave the final day of arguments for the prosecution on Friday [Jacquelyn Martin/The Associated Press]

Pompeo makes first trip to Ukraine next week

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will visit Ukraine next week, making his first trip to the country at the heart of President Donald Trump’s impeachment, likely while the Senate trial is still ongoing. 

The State Department announced on Friday that Pompeo would travel to Kyiv as part of a five-nation tour of Europe and Central Asia.

Schiff references Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances 

Lead House manager Adam Schiff, in arguing the precarious position of Ukraine, referenced the Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances. 

Under three identical agreements, the nuclear powers of Russia, the US, and the UK gave assurances that the political sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, Kazakstan and Belarus would be protected. In return, the three countries turned over their nuclear stockpiles. 

Russia was considered in breach of the memorandum when it annexed Crimea in 2014. 

Crow pre-empts Trump defence argument on military aid hold

House manager Jason Crow combated some defence arguments Trump’s legal team is expected to make as the prosecutors finished the last day of their arguments.

In particular, Crow rebutted that military aid was eventually released to Ukraine with “no harm, no foul”, saying the aid had only been released after Congress launched an investigation. 

“This defence would be laughable if this issue wasn’t so serious,” he said.

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House impeachment manager Jason Crow speaks during the impeachment trial against President Donald Trump [The Associated Press]

Jeffries: There’s “toxic mess” at the White House

House manager Hakeem Jeffries said there was a “toxic mess” at the White House, with the president actively working to cover up his wrongdoing, and it’s legislators job to clean it up. 

“The President tried to cheat. He got caught, and then he worked hard to cover it up,” Jeffries said.

What else is happening today? 

The US has confirmed its second case of a coronavirus that has infected at least 830 people, left 26 dead and has left several Chinese cities on lockdown. Read the latest updates here

Thousands of Iraqis have heeded the call of an influential Shia cleric and took to the streets of Baghdad to demand the withdrawal of US troops. Read about the most recent protests in Iraq here

The Palestinian Authority has warned Israel and the US that it would not recognise any Middle East plan it had previously rejected. On Thursday, Trump said he would likely release his long-awaited plan before Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visits the US capital next week. Catch up on the upcoming visit here

Passengers wear masks to prevent an outbreak of a new coronavirus in a subway station in Hong Kong [File: Kin Cheung/The Associated Press]

Can Democrats successfully make the case for witnesses?

The Democrats want to hear further testimony from former National Security Adviser John Bolton, White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, White House budget office official Michael Duffey, and top adviser to the White House Chief of Staff Robert Blair. 

But first they will have to make the case to Republican senators, and convince at least four that that testimony is needed. 

Read more about how likely that is.

john bolton
Democrats want Former National security adviser John Bolton to testify in the Senate trial. [File: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/The Associated Press]

Trump unhappy his defence will begin in ‘Death Valley in TV’

President Donald Trump’s defence will begin on Saturday – much to his chagrin. 

In a tweet on Friday, Trump said his defence will be “forced to start on Saturday, which is called Death Valley in TV”. 

The Saturday session is expected to be relatively short, with more time used when the trial resumes on the more desirable Monday evening time slot. 

Trump retweets Senator’s tweet about Lieutenant-Colonel Alexander Vindman

President Donald Trump, who was attending the anti-abortion “March for Life” rally in the capital, has continued to tweet criticism of the Senate impeachment trial throughout the day. 

One of those tweets included a retweet of Senator Marsha Blackburn, who criticised Lieutenant-Colonel Alexander Vindman.

Vindman, an army officer assigned to the National Security Council, had testified as part of the House impeachment inquiry. 

Blackburn’s tweet, said to be citing Vindman’s commanding officer, described him as a “political activist in uniform”. 

Trump also criticised Democrats for wanting ‘to use ALL of their time, even though it is the wrong thing to do”. 

Senate impeachment trial resumes

Lead House manager Adam Schiff has opened the fifth day of the Senate impeachment trial. 

Schiff said today would include House managers finishing their presentation on the abuse of power article of impeachment before presenting their case for obstructing Congress article. 

Schumer: It is on the ‘shoulders of four Republican Senators’ to get witnesses, documents

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer urged four Republican Senators to join Democrats in voting to be able to subpoena more witnesses and documents in the Senate impeachment trial. 

“Will four Republican Senators, just four, rise to the occasion?” said Schumer, who spoke to reporters before the start of the fifth day of the trial. 

Here are the Senators to watch in the trial. 

Graham calls House managers’ lengthy arguments ‘mind-numbing’

Senator Lindsey Graham accused Democratic House managers of “over-trying their case” shortly before the fifth day of the impeachment trial began in the Senate on Friday. 

“It became mind-numbing after a while,” said Graham, referring to the two days of lengthy argument presented by the House managers. 

However, Graham noted the House managers have been “very professional, very respectful”.

Report: Recording appears to show Trump saying he wants former Ambassador to Ukraine fired

A recording appears to show US President Donald Trump tell associates at a small gathering that he wanted the then US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch fired, according to a report by ABC News, who also reviewed the recording. 

That gathering included associates of Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, who have since been indicted on federal campaign finance fraud. The recording contradicts repeated claims from the president that he does not know Parnas.

The recording appears to capture Parnas and Fruman telling the president that Yovanovitch has been disparaging him. 

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Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Eliot Engel, said Bolton had told him to look into the removal of former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch [File: Andrew Harrer/Reuters]

 A voice that appears to be Trump’s is then heard saying: “Get rid of her”. The meeting reportedly took place a year before Yovanovitch was removed from office, following what she described as a smear campaign by Giuliani and his associates. 

Trump referenced Yovanovitch during his July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, which is at the heart of the impeachment inquiry, and was accused of intimidating a witness by tweeting about Yovanovitch as she testified before the House intelligence committee as part of the impeachment inquiry. 

Read more about Yovanovitch’s testimony in the impeachment inquiry here.

White House reportedly warns GOP senators against crossing Trump

Republican senators have been warned by the White House not to vote against President Donald Trump during the impeachment proceedings, according to a report Friday morning from CBS News.

“Vote against the president and your head will be on a pike,” the senators have been told, according to the network’s chief congressional correspondent, Nancy Cordes, who sourced the threat to a “Trump confidant.”

Whether the threat applies to a vote in favour of removal from office or merely any procedural questions such as whether to call witnesses or allow for new evidence is unclear.

The votes taken so far, all over procedural issues, have hewed strictly along party lines, with 53 Republicans voting in lockstep with the Republican leadership and 47 Democrats voting in opposition.

Trump starts morning, again, with impeachment tweets

Trump began the fifth day of the impeachment proceedings against him by again tweeting, this time derision for Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and praise for his biggest Republican defenders. 

“Cryin’ Chuck never had what it takes, and never will!” he tweeted along with an article about Democrats’ attempts to be able to call more witnesses in the trial. 

“Jim is great!” he wrote in another post, referring to Republican representative Jim Jordan, who has been one of the most vocal defenders of the president. 

On Wednesday, the second day of opening arguments in the trial, Trump broke his record for the most tweets or retweets in a single day while in office, according to, a service that compiles and analyses data on Trump’s presidency.

Who is on Trump’s defence team? 

Trump’s defence team will likely begin their arguments on Saturday. 

Like the House managers, they will be given 24 hours over three days to lay out their defence. 

Read more about the key players in the trial here

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Who are the House managers? 

The House of Representatives appointed seven Democrats to make their case against Trump, which they will conclude on Friday. They were granted 24 hours over three days to lay it all out. 

Read more about them here

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What happened to the debate about more witnesses, documents?

Tuesday’s ruling on the rules resolution has relegated the debate over whether more witnesses or documents can be subpoenaed after the arguments by the House managers and Trump’s defence time. It is likely to happen some time next week. 

Despite attempts by Democrats, the Senate will first vote generally on whether new witnesses or documents can be subpoenaed. If that passes, they will then vote on specific cases. 

The Democrats want to hear from former National Security Adviser John Bolton, White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, White House budget office official Michael Duffey, and top adviser to the White House Chief of Staff Robert Blair. 

Meanwhile, Republicans have suggested a swap, with Joe and Hunter Biden testifying in exchange for Democrats’ desired witnesses. Democrats have largely resisted the prospect of the Bidens testifying. 

Read more about the rules resolution here

Fidget spinners, possible naps and book reading: How senators pass the time

Press covering the impeachment trial has highlighted how senators are passing the lengthy proceedings, which are only part of many of the legislators’ punishing schedules. 

Because only government cameras have been allowed onto the Senate floor, many of the time-passing techniques have escaped the public eye, but media have documented instances of senators playing with fidget spinners, reading books and appearing to take power naps to get through the proceedings. 

Some senators have also begun to flout the strict rules for a Senate impeachment trial, which include no pacing, note-passing, working on other matters or talking. 

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In this artist sketch, Democratic presidential candidate, Senator Bernie Sanders, flanked by Senator Ben Cardin and Senator Tammy Baldwin, listens during the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump [Dana Verkouteren/AP Photo] 

What happened on Thursday? 

On Thursday, House managers focused on the abuse of power article of impeachment against Trump, which says the president misused his authority to pressure Ukraine into the politically motivated investigation of former Vice President Biden’s son, Hunter. 

The House managers argued that a crime did not need to be committed for the president to abuse his power, and cited previous comments by Attorney General Bill Barr, Trump defence team lawyer Alan Dershowitz, and Trump ally Republican Senator Lindsey Graham. They also spent a good deal of time arguing that there is no evidence the Bidens acted improperly in Ukraine – pre-empting a likely argument from the president’s defence team.

Read more about Thursday’s proceedings here.

What happened at the start of the trial? 

The trial began last week, with the swearing-in of Chief Justice John Roberts, who is constitutionally required to preside over the trial. Roberts then swore in the 100-member US Senate.

On Tuesday, the second day of the trial but the first full day of proceedings, the Senate voted along partisan lines to approve Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s rules resolution after nearly 12 hours of debate. Meanwhile, 11 amendments introduced by Democrats were blocked. Read more about what happened here

Then on Wednesday, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, the lead House manager in the trial, began the presentation of the case against Trump by laying out the timeline of his alleged pressure campaign on Ukraine. Read more about Wednesday’s proceedings here

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies