January 21, 2020 / 7:56 PM / a month ago

Factbox: 'The American people want a fair trial' - House Democrat tells Senate

(Reuters) - Here are excerpts from an opening statement on Tuesday by U.S. Representative Adam Schiff, the House Democrat leading the impeachment case against President Donald Trump, as the Senate prepared to vote on the rules of the proceedings:

- “When the Founders wrote the impeachment clause, they had precisely this type of conduct in mind, conduct that abuses the power of office for a personal benefit, that undermines our national security, and that invites foreign interference in the democratic process of an election.”

- “If a President can obstruct his own investigation, if he can effectively nullify a power the Constitution gives solely to the Congress ... The President places himself beyond accountability and above the law. Cannot be indicted, cannot be impeached. It makes him a monarch, the very evil against which our Constitution and the balance of powers it carefully laid out, was designed to guard against.”

- “Whether we have a fair trial will determine whether you have a basis to render a fair and impartial verdict. It is foundational, the structure upon which every other decision you make will rest.”

- “Why should this trial be different from every other trial? The short answer is, it shouldn’t. But Leader (Mitch) McConnell’s resolution would turn the trial process on its head. His resolution requires the House to prove its case without witnesses, without documents, and only after it’s done, will such questions be entertained with no guarantee that any witnesses or any documents will be allowed even then. That process makes no sense.”

- “Right now, a great many, perhaps even most Americans do not believe there will be a fair trial. They don’t believe the Senate will be impartial. They believe the result is pre-cooked ... The American people want a fair trial, they want to believe their system of government is still capable of rising to the occasion.”

Reporting by Scott Malone; Editing by Howard Goller

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