'Impeachment needed to stop a crime in progress'
Washington DC: A key Democratic lawmaker said Sunday that President Donald Trump's misconduct amounted to "a crime in progress" that threatens US democracy, as the full House prepares for a historic vote on impeachment.
"Do we have a constitutional democracy, or do we have a monarchy, where the president is unaccountable?" Representative Jerry Nadler asked." "That's what's at stake here."
He expressed anger with Senate Republicans who said they had already made up their mind to exonerate the president -- even without hearing evidence or testimony -- in the Senate trial expected next month.
When the Democratic-controlled House convenes Wednesday to weigh the two charges approved by Nadler's Judiciary Committee, Trump is expected to become only the third US president to be impeached, after Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998.
Richard Nixon resigned in 1974 just before a House impeachment vote. Neither Johnson nor Clinton was convicted in the Senate.
Trump is counting on the Republican majority in the Senate to exonerate
In repeated tweets Sunday he mocked a process that, to judge by his frequent tweets, appears to consume him.
He retweeted one conservative commentator as saying: "The President did nothing wrong here. There is no crime," before adding: "Impeachment Hoax!"
Some influential Senate Republicans have suggested they have already made up their minds and don't need to hear the evidence compiled by House Democrats in several weeks of hearings.
Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell has promised "total coordination" with the White House and said there is no chance Trump will be convicted.
And Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, a Trump confidant said, "I'm not trying to pretend to be a fair juror here," dismissing the charges against Trump as "partisan
House impeachment manager Democrat Adam Schiff, alongside Nadler, called Graham's attitude "disgraceful." And Nadler said McConnell and Graham would be defying the oath required of all senators in an impeachment trial: "to do impartial justice." But Senator Ted Cruz, a Republican, said Sunday that Democrats had come up with "zero evidence" of the "high crimes and misdemeanors" the US Constitution sets as the standard for impeachment.
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