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'Charges against Trump politically motivated'

Washington DC: Lawyers representing Donald Trump at his impeachment trial said the abuse of power charges against the US President were "driven by political desires", as they wrapped up their opening arguments.

"The articles of impeachment fall far short of any constitutional standard," White House Counsel Pat Cipollone, who led Trump's defence, said on Tuesday.

"What they are asking you to do is to throw out a successful president on the eve of an election, with no basis and in violation of the Constitution," he said.

Urging the Senate to acquit the president of the abuse of power charges, the White House counsel argued that overturning the last election and "massively interfering" with the upcoming one would cause serious and lasting damage to the people of the United States.

"The Senate cannot allow this to happen. It is time for this to end, here and now," he said in his closing remarks at the Senate

floor.

The Senate is conducting Trump's trial as the House of Representatives voted last month to impeach him on articles of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, both related to his dealings with Ukraine.

Trump is accused of cheating in his 2020 reelection bid by pressuring Ukraine, a US ally, to announce probe into Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden and his son Hunter and a conspiracy theory, promoted by Russia, that Kiev helped the Democrats in 2016.

According to the impeachment charges, Trump froze military aid to Ukraine for two months last summer to put pressure on President Volodymyr Zelensky to publicly announce the investigations, illicitly drawing a foreign nation into American electoral politics.

Trump's legal team said he did nothing wrong and the articles of the impeachment are "constitutionally deficient and they fail to state impeachable offences".

The lawyers said the entire process that led to the House of Representatives voting for the president's impeachment was "completely partisan" and was not based on any wrongdoing by Trump or any constitutionally sufficient theories for impeaching the

president.

"It was simply a partisan process that was driven by political desires to overturn the last election and to affect the 2020 election," the legal team said.

Meanwhile, Democrats sought to have the Senate subpoena former national security advisor John Bolton as a witness, following leaks from his forthcoming book that suggested he could supply damning evidence against

Trump.

Republicans, however, exuded confidence that they have enough votes to thwart any such move. In the 100-member Senate, Republican Senators have a 53-47 lead over the Democrats.

Bolton reportedly writes that Trump directly withheld security aid to Ukraine for his own political benefit.

During the three days of arguments, Trump's lawyers painted him as a victim of a partisan attempt to undo the 2016 election.

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