U.S. Republican Senators set combative tone for Trump’s impeachment trial



The Republican leader of the U.S. Senate on Thursday said that the impeachment of President Donald Trump is based on “partisan rage” and the thinnest of evidence.

Sen. Mitch McConnell dismissed the impeachment process, saying that Democrats had been talking about impeaching Trump since before he became the Republican candidate for president in 2016.

On Wednesday, the House of Representatives voted to send two articles of impeachment to the chamber. McConnell called the vote a “pre-determined end to a partisan crusade.”

The party-line vote saw Republicans uniformly opposing impeachment, while the vast majority of Democrats voted in favour.

The two articles move to the Senate for a trial expected to take place in 2020.

Trump maintains he did nothing wrong and said again on Wednesday that impeachment is an effort to overturn his election win.

He is accused of abusing his office by soliciting Ukraine to dig up dirt on former vice president Joe Biden, a leading candidate among Democrats bidding to run against Trump next year.

Sen. Chuck Schumer said in rebuttal to McConnell that Republicans showed “cravenness and blind fealty” to Trump in their vote.

The minority leader said he would meet with McConnell soon to discuss the rules of the Senate trial.

“The nation turns its eyes to the Senate,” he said, adding that it is up to the chamber to exercise its check on his power.

“I have little doubt that if we tell the president he can escape scrutiny in this instance he will do it again and again,” Schumer said. (dpa/NAN)