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Trump impeachment trial closing arguments: five key takeaways

Closing arguments in Donald Trump’s impeachment trial were made on Monday, preceding a vote on the articles of impeachment scheduled for Wednesday afternoon. Here are five key takeaways:

History will not be kind to Donald Trump

The lead impeachment manager, Adam Schiff, urged senators standing by Trump to consider their own legacies.

“History will not be kind to Donald Trump,” Schiff said. “I think we all know that. And if you find that the House has proved its case and still vote to acquit, your name will be tied to his with a cord of steel for all of history.”

Schiff blasted Trump in personal terms, warning that Trump had tried to cheat in the 2020 election and will keep trying if acquitted.

“He has not changed. He will not change,” said Schiff. “A man without character or ethical compass will never find his way.”

CSPAN (@cspan)

[email protected]: "I hope and pray that we never have a president like Donald Trump in the Democratic Party…and I would hope to God that if we did we would impeach him, and Democrats would lead the way…History will not be kind to Donald Trump. I think we all know that." pic.twitter.com/FfdF9WwQfi

Defense makes election argument

Trump’s team has argued for weeks that the impeachment process seeks to rob American voters of a choice in 2020. The prosecution have replied that part of the point of removing Trump would be to ensure a fair election despite his attempts to cheat.

On Monday, the defense team closed with the election argument, focusing not on Trump’s conduct but on the urgency, they said, of keeping him on the ballot in 2020. “The only appropriate result here is to acquit the president and to leave it to the voters to choose their president,” said the lead defense lawyer, Pat Cipollone.

Defense argues no wrongdoing by Trump

White House counsel Pat Cipollone:

I urge you on behalf of those Americans, of every American, on behalf of all of your constituents, to reject these articles of impeachment. It’s the right thing for our country. The president has done nothing wrong. These types of impeachment must end.

CSPAN (@cspan)

Pat Cipollone: "I urge you on behalf of those Americans, of every American, on behalf of all of your constituents, to reject these Articles of Impeachment. It's the right thing for our country. The president has done nothing wrong. These types of impeachment must end." pic.twitter.com/FMA3zCWCwl

Acquittal assured – but who might defect?

A two-thirds majority of voting senators would be required to remove Trump from office. Enough Republicans have said they will vote to acquit to vacate that threat. But the vote tallies on each article of impeachment were not settled. At least two Republican senators and three Democratic senators were seen as potential swing votes on the question of whether Trump warrants conviction.

The first article of impeachment charges Trump with abuse of power. The second article charges him with obstruction of Congress.

What’s next

The Senate adjourned as a court of impeachment on Monday afternoon and will not reconvene as such until Wednesday at 4pm, when the vote to acquit or convict Trump will be held.

Meanwhile, Capitol Hill’s 100 senators, who have been required to maintain silence during the trial, finally began to speak on the Senate floor about the case. Each senator is allotted up to 10 minutes of speaking time.

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