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Democrats: Trump endangers national security

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They appeal to senators to be impartial in impeachment trial

WASHINGTON/PALM BEACH Democratic lawmakers leading the impeachment case against Republican President Donald Trump said on Saturday he must be removed from office to protect national security and preserve the country's system of government.

In a 111-page document filed before Mr Trump's Senate trial begins in earnest tomorrow, the lawmakers laid out their arguments supporting charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress against Mr Trump.

"The Senate should convict and remove President Trump to avoid serious and long-term damage to our democratic values and the nation's security," the lawmakers said, for the first time formally calling for the Senate to convict the President and remove him from office.

"The case against the President of the US is simple, the facts are indisputable, and the evidence is overwhelming."

The document was an appeal directly to the senators to be impartial.

"History will judge each senator's willingness to rise above partisan differences, view the facts honestly and defend the Constitution," the lawmakers said in a statement, noting "the President is not a king".

Mr Trump's legal team issued a rejection of the impeachment charges, which were read out in the Senate earlier in the week during formalities setting the stage for the trial. They are expected to release a longer, separate response to the Democrats' pretrial brief today.

Rejecting the charges, Mr Trump's lawyers reiterated his insistence, echoed by many Republicans in Congress, that the charges are nothing more than a partisan attempt to remove him from office, a "dangerous attack on the right of the American people to freely choose their president".

"This is a brazen and unlawful attempt to overturn the results of the 2016 election and interfere with the 2020 election - now just months away," they argued in a six-page document released on Saturday.

It was the first time Mr Trump formally responded to the two articles of impeachment - abuse of power and obstruction of Congress - that the Democratic-led House approved late last year.

Mr Trump and Democratic lawmakers offered duelling arguments about the impeachment case involving Mr Trump's attempt to persuade Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Democratic rival Joe Biden last year.

As well as the charge of abuse of office for pressuring Ukraine to investigate Mr Biden and his son Hunter, Mr Trump is also accused of obstructing Congress in its investigation into his conduct by refusing to hand over documents and barring administration officials from testifying, even when subpoenaed by House investigators.