The federal government’s watchdog agency says the a White House office violated federal law in withholding security assistance to Ukraine aid. The Government Accountability Office says the White House Office of Management and Budget violated the law in holding up the assistance. The freeze is at center of the impeachment of President Donald Trump. Trump was impeached last month on charges of abusing his power for pressuring Ukraine to investigate Democratic rivals, and for obstructing Congress’ ensuing probe.
President Donald Trump derided his impeachment as a "con" on Wednesday as Democratic leaders announced the team that will lead the trial in the Senate. "Here we go again, another Con Job by the Do Nothing Democrats," Trump tweeted seconds after Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the House of Representatives, unveiled the seven-member trial team.
In a dramatic procession across the U.S. Capitol, House Democrats carried the formal Trump complained anew Wednesday that it was all a “hoax,” even as fresh details emerged about his efforts in Ukraine. The ceremonial pomp and protocol by the lawmakers prosecuting the case against Trump moved the impeachment out of Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s Democratic-run House to the Republican-majority Senate, where the president’s team is mounting a defence aiming for swift acquittal.
“Today we will make history,'' Pelosi said as she signed the documents, using multiple pens to hand out and mark the moment. “This president will be held accountable." Moments later the prosecutors walked solemnly through the stately hall, filing into the Senate back row as the clerk of the House announced the arrival: “The House has passed House Resolution 798, a resolution appointing and authorizing managers of the impeachment trial of Donald John Trump, president of United States.”
The Senate will transform itself into an impeachment court at noon Thursday. The Constitution calls for Chief Justice John Roberts to preside at the trial, administering the oath to senators who will serve as jurors and swear to deliver “impartial justice.” The trial will play out before a deeply divided nation at the start of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell pledged to have the Senate “rise above the petty factionalism” and “factional fervour and serve the long-term, best interests of our nation.'' He called it “a difficult time for our country.”
(with AP inputs)