Trump impeachment moves to Senate

US President Donald Trump's impeachment trial is set to begin next week, after a month of delays by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

The announcement, almost a month after the House voted to impeach Mr Trump, came just hours before the President was to claim a significant political victory with the signing of phase-one of a new $A290 billion trade deal with China.

It also appeared timed to avoid clashing with last night's Democratic presidential primary debate.

 

The US House of Representatives votes 228-193 in favour of progressing articles of impeachment to the Senate this morning.

Democrats have used the past four weeks to try to influence how the Republican-held Senate would hold the trial. 

They want witnesses and evidence to be presented, but it is not yet clear whether this will occur. 

Mr Trump has publicly vacillated between wanting a long trial or calling for an early vote to dismiss. 

Mr Trump tweeted the impeachment was "another Con Job by the Do Nothing Democrats. All of this work was supposed to be done by the House, not the Senate!"

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Picture: AP
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Picture: AP

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell yesterday said he expected the trial to run six days a week and could last as long as six weeks.

Mr Trump will be only the third president to face an impeachment trial.

Bill Clinton and Andrew Johnson were also impeached, but both were acquitted in their Senate trials.

Such an outcome is almost inevitable for Mr Trump, with at least 20 Republicans needed to cross the Senate floor to convict the president and remove him through a majority verdict.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., fourth from left, speaks during a news conference to announce impeachment managers including, from left, Hakeem Jeffries, Sylvia Garcia, Jerrold Nadler, Adam Schiff, Val Demings, Zoe Lofgren, and Jason Crow. Picture: AP
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., fourth from left, speaks during a news conference to announce impeachment managers including, from left, Hakeem Jeffries, Sylvia Garcia, Jerrold Nadler, Adam Schiff, Val Demings, Zoe Lofgren, and Jason Crow. Picture: AP

Mrs Pelosi announced seven Democrat managers to put forward the case for impeachment. 

Impeachment managers will act as prosecutors to make the Democratic case in the Senate. They include two House chairman who have so far led proceedings against Mr Trump, Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff and Judiciary Chair Jerrold Nadler.

They will be joined by congressmen Hakeem Jeffries, Sylvia Garica, Val Demings, Jason Crow and Zoe Lofgren.

 

 

 

Mrs Pelosi said new evidence had emerged to bolster the Democrat case that Mr Trump was a "central player in the scheme to pressure Ukraine to meddle in the 2020 election" and had been "trying to influence a foreign government for his own personal and political benefit".

"We have a strong case for impeachment of the President and removal of the President," she said.

It wasn't the first time an impeachment announcement has clashed with Mr Trump's announcement of a trade deal.

President Donald Trump leaves Andrews Air Force Base. Picture: AP
President Donald Trump leaves Andrews Air Force Base. Picture: AP

Democrats first formally accused Mr Trump of the two counts of "high crimes and misdemeanours", on December 10, hours before Mr Trump took one of his biggest legislative victories with the revised North American trade pact.

The US Mexico Canada Agreement will be before Congress this month, replacing the North America Free Trade Agreement, one of Mr Trump's key 2016 election pledges.

Mr Trump is accused of pressuring his counterpart in Ukraine to investigate his political rival in return for hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid and a sought after White House meeting for the country's newly installed leader, President Volodymyr Zelensky. 

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Republicans want to subpoena Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, who served on the board of a gas company in Ukraine, Burisma, while his father was vice-president. Picture: Getty
Republicans want to subpoena Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, who served on the board of a gas company in Ukraine, Burisma, while his father was vice-president. Picture: Getty

Mr Trump has denied any wrongdoing and his supporters say it was appropriate for the President and his representatives to push Ukraine to investigate the son of leading 2020 Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden. 

Mr Biden was Barack Obama's vice president and led the US relationship with Ukraine at the same time his son Hunter held a highly paid position on the board of an energy company there. 

Mr Biden has denied any wrongdoing and there is no evidence his son behaved corruptly. 

The question of whether witnesses will be called at the Senate trial has ramifications for the 2020 race, with some Republicans pushing to hear evidence from Hunter Biden.

US President Donald Trump points to the crowd after speaking during a campaign rally at UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena, Picture: AP
US President Donald Trump points to the crowd after speaking during a campaign rally at UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena, Picture: AP


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