Schiff reads articles of impeachment against Trump on Senate floor

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WASHINGTON — The seven House managers chosen to serve as the prosecution in the Senate trial are making another procession from the House to the Senate chamber Thursday to present and read the two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.

The managers began that procession through Statuary Hall and the Capitol Rotunda at noon ET. The lead manager, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., then read the two articles on the Senate floor as the other managers faced the dais.

“Donald J. Trump has abused the powers of the presidency, in that: Using the powers of his high office, President Trump solicited the interference of a foreign government, Ukraine, in the 2020 United States presidential election,” Schiff said, reading the text of the first article into a microphone. “He did so through a scheme or course of conduct that included soliciting the government of Ukraine to publicly announce investigations that would benefit his re-election, harm the election prospects of a political opponent, and influence the 2020 United States presidential election to his advantage.”

Proceeding to the second article, Schiff said the White House directed current and former administration officials not to cooperate with House committees, and as a result, nine officials defied subpoenas, including acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney.

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“In the history of the Republic, no president has ever ordered the complete defiance of an impeachment inquiry or sought to obstruct and impede so comprehensively the ability of the House of Representatives to investigate ‘high crimes and misdemeanors,'” Schiff said. “This abuse of office served to cover up the president’s own repeated misconduct and to seize and control the power of impeachment — and thus to nullify a vital constitutional safeguard vested solely in the House of Representatives.”

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Chief Justice John Roberts, who will preside over the Senate trial in which lawmakers weigh whether to remove Trump from office, will be escorted into the Senate chamber and swear in all senators at 2 p.m. Two senators from each party have been chosen to escort him into the chamber: Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., Roy Blunt, R-Mo., Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.

The developments come a day after the managers hand-delivered the articles of impeachment, adopted by the House in December, to the Senate after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., signed them in a historic engrossment ceremony.

Once they were delivered, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., laid out the next steps in the process and said that the trial would commence “in earnest” on Tuesday. It remained unclear if witnesses would be called to testify.

The House managers who will prosecute the case against the president in the Senate are Schiff, the lead manager; Jerry Nadler of New York; Hakeem Jeffries of New York; Jason Crow of Colorado; Zoe Lofgren of California; Val Demings of Florida; and Sylvia Garcia of Texas.

Ahead of the actions on Thursday, Lev Parnas, the indicted associate of the president’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow on Wednesday night of the role he played in the Ukraine pressure campaign, pointing a finger at Trump and other top administration officials.

“President Trump knew exactly what was going on. He was aware of all my movements. I wouldn’t do anything without the consent of Rudy Giuliani or the president. I have no intent, I have no reason to speak to any of these officials,” said Parnas, who faces campaign finance charges and was arrested while trying to leave the country. “I mean, they have no reason to speak to me,” he said, referring to Ukraine’s current president and other of the country’s top officials.

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in response Thursday morning: “These allegations are being made by a man who is currently out on bail for federal crimes and is desperate to reduce his exposure to prison. The facts haven’t changed — the president did nothing wrong and this impeachment, which was manufactured and carried out by the Democrats has been a sham from the start.”

Kristen Welker contributed.