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Trump impeachment trial: What happened so far

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The Democratic Party will on Friday finish making its case in the Senate for the removal of President Donald Trump – bringing to a close three days of meticulously presented evidence that they said proved Mr Trump had abused his power and obstructed Congress.

They allege that President Trump pressured Ukraine to dig up dirt on former vice president Joe Biden, in a corrupt scheme to damage Mr Biden, a leading candidate to rival Mr Trump in the upcoming US election.

President Trump and senior Republicans claim Mr Biden and his son Hunter were involved in their own corrupt business scheme in Ukraine.

The president's defence counsel will begin its allotted three days in the Senate chamber on Saturday.

Here's what happened this week, and what we can expect to see in the coming days, with the help of the BBC's Anthony Zurcher.

How the prosecution case unfolded

Proceedings began on Tuesday with a tussle between Democrats and Republicans over the rules of the trial.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell proposed a tight two-day limit for opening arguments by both sides, before extending it to three after protests from Democrats.

Mr McConnell tabled motions from Democrats to allow new witnesses to be called and new evidence submitted – delaying that debate until next week.

Democratic congressman Adam Schiff, the head of seven impeachment managers – who are effectively prosecutors – then opened oral arguments to a packed Senate chamber on Wednesday.

Mr Schiff said the president's actions were exactly what the founding fathers feared when they framed the remedy of impeachment – "a remedy as powerful as the evil it was meant to combat," Mr Schiff said.

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The impeachment managers walked the senators through testimony gathered during depositions and committee hearings last year, from government officials, that they say points to a scheme by Mr Trump and his advisers to lean on Ukraine to investigate the Bidens.

The managers interspersed their oral arguments with audio and video tape, using the president's own words – including a now-infamous call with the president of Ukraine – in their effort to portray him as guilty.

They also directly addressed the claims against the Bidens – a purposeful attempt to get on the front foot ahead of the president's defence.

Representative Hakeem Jefferies, also an impeachment manager, eschewed the founding fathers, choosing instead to quote the late Brooklyn rapper Notorious BIG.

"And if you don't know, now you know," he said – a famous line from the song. He stood next to a picture of the rapper mounted on an easel – a first for the Senate chamber.

Anthony's take on prosecution:

The Democrats were determined to squeeze every drop out of the opportunity they were afforded. Republican senators, who had to sit through the marathon sessions – Schiff, alone, would speak for hours at a times – criticised the presentation as repetitive, but repetitive was the point.

For three days the Democratic case against the president, broadcast during the daytime on US network television and gavel-to-gavel on cable news networks, was ubiquitous. It was unavoidable.

It may not be nearly enough to convince the requisite number of Republican senators, but the uninterrupted fusillade was as much geared toward public opinion as it was toward the people in the Capitol.

What will the defence say?

The president's defence team is expected to focus on their accusations against about the Bidens.

Responding to the impeachment managers' case, Republican senators and members of the defence team said on Thursday that the Democrats had essentially invited them to do so.

"What I don't understand is that, for the last five hours, it's been a lot about Joe Biden," said Jay Sekulow, the president's personal lawyer. "They kind of opened the door for that response."

"Today the House Democrats – perhaps unintentionally – they threw Joe Biden under the bus," said Ted Cruz, Republican senator from Texas.

The Republicans will have the same amouRead More – Source

bbc